Blue Ridge Volleyball Wins 25-13, 25-12 in Regional Semifinal Match over DeLand-Weldon, Will Meet Mount Pulaski in Championship Match

FARMER CITY, Ill. -- The Lady Knights are back in the regional championship match after knocking off the Eagles in dominant fashion in the Farmer City Blue Ridge Regional semifinals.

No. 2-seeded Blue Ridge dispatched No. 3 DeLand-Weldon with a balanced scoring attack. Kaitlyn Zelhart (pictured below) led the Lady Knights with six kills and five service points while Amber Blazek and Jessica Schrock had five kills each; Schrock also had five service points.

"We played very well, especially compared to yesterday," Blue Ridge coach Evan Miles said. "[There are] a few things to [correct]; eight service errors, things like that. But overall, we spread out our offense. It was very diversified today. Both of our outside hitters [Blazek and Schrock] were able to adjust."

Jordan Wheeler got the scoring started in the first game for the Lady Knights with a serve that deflected off Alexis Dick for the point. With the score 4-3 in favor of Blue Ridge, the Lady Knights went on a 9-2 scoring run that increased the lead to 13-5.

Blazek got the sixth point with a spike that deflected off Dick and the eighth point with a hit that thwarted a Mikayla Jones block attempt. With the score at 9-5, Blazek gave Blue Ridge the next two points via serves.

Blazek (pictured below) finished the match with four digs along with her five kills. She also recorded two aces on Tuesday against Decatur Christian.

"Sometimes, she's her own worst enemy, but she played very even-keel tonight mentally," Miles said. "We talked about how [DeLand-Weldon] played. They hit a lot of deliberate down balls deep. Defensively, she made good adjustments on those. She had some good timing on her hits today, too. She didn't try to overpower it or hit it too hard. It was a good rhythm."

After the Eagles got to within 14-8, Schrock gave Blue Ridge its 15th point with a diagonal spike that deflected off Brooke Kimball. That sparked a 5-0 run that ended with a Schrock serve that hit Brittany Roberts in the face for the Lady Knights' point.

Kaitlyn Zelhart got the 23rd and 24th points for Blue Ridge with a tap over the net and a block that was not returned by DeLand-Weldon, respectively. Emily Zelhart finished the first game with a serve.

In the second game, the Lady Knights fell behind 3-0. The last two of those three points were scored via Dick serves that were not returned.

Blue Ridge got the side-out point with a DeLand-Weldon hitting error. From there, the Lady Knights would score the next seven points.

Kaitlyn Zelhart, who finished the match with 10 digs and five service points to go along with her six kills, tied the second game at 3-3 with a spike that Roberts returned with a hit that landed in the crowd.

Wheeler (pictured above) gave Blue Ridge the lead with a serve that darted past a Dick diving attempt. Wheeler also scored the Lady Knights' sixth and eighth points with serves that the Eagles could not return.

After leading 12-6 in the second game, Blue Ridge went on a 12-3 run to boost the advantage to 24-9.

Kaitlyn Zelhart started the run with a tip over the net on the right side. Schrock got the next point with a spike that deflected off an Eagles player and got the Lady Knights' 16th and 19th points with a spike and a tip on the right side, respectively.

Schrock (pictured above) also served a ball that ended up hitting a DeLand-Weldon player in the face to give Blue Ridge the 23rd point of the second game. The Eagles got three straight points to make the score 24-12 before the Lady Knights took the 25th point.

Wheeler finished the match with four aces and nine service points. Emily Zelhart (pictured below) had 14 assists, two aces and seven service points while Chandler Morrow was credited with five service points.

For DeLand-Weldon, Roberts led her team in digs with five.

With the win, Blue Ridge is now 23-7 on the season. They will play in the regional championship match against top-seeded Mount Pulaski.

The Lady Toppers escaped deficits of 7-0 and 9-2 in the first game of their match against fourth-seeded Decatur Lutheran to win 25-17, 25-12.

"I think they're very beatable," Miles said. "I think if LSA can play defense and serve receive better, they're a legit team. Like any good team, [Mount Pulaski] doesn't get too rattled. They made adjustments after that timeout and they responded. We'll expect the same thing from them tomorrow."

The Lady Knights and Lady Toppers will begin their quest for the regional title on Thursday at 6 p.m.


Farmer City Raceway driver Chris Dick, a DeLand native, was on hand to watch her daughter, Alexis, play for the Eagles.

For those who did not follow the FCR point standings last summer, Chris (whose car is pictured above) finished second in the point standings of the Street Stock Division and sixth in the Late Models Division.

Chris says Alexis (pictured above) attends his races, and vice versa for her volleyball matches. So the two should know the Farmer City area pretty well by now.

Alexis finished the match against Blue Ridge with one ace and nine service points.

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