By Matt Nestor
Prep Sports Reporter
The Rockford Keith Cougars found their backs against the wall several times during the Class 1A State Tournament in Bloomington, Ill. But every time they did, the scratched their way back.
A hard-fought, three-set win over Mount Pulaski (25-21, 18-25, 25-22) in the finals made it all worthwhile, bringing home the 1A championship to Keith.
“It’s a lot of nerves,” Keith Head Coach Lynn Cesario said. “It’s a big arena and their first time down there. But after we got through the nerves, we were good.”
The weekend started against Tri County, where Keith found themselves down in the first set 23-20, 2 points away from losing. Behind the serves of Marisa Morgan, and kills from Ali Nicolosi and Morgan Luther, the Cougars scored the final 5 points to win the set.
From there, Keith cruised to an easy victory in the second set, finishing Tri County off 25-18 to move on to the finals.
The Cougars got off to a good start in the finals when Adeja Lambert scored 4 service aces to help win the set. She was aided by Iman McGary, who played well in the set on her way to finishing with a team-high 11 kills.
Lambert also came up big in the third, and final, set, getting several kills on her way to 10 for the match. Several uncharacteristic Mount Pulaski errors as a result of the Cougars’ attack also aided Keith in the victory.
It was the second trip down state for Keith in school history, following a second-place finish in 2007, and the first state title in volleyball for the school.
From the Nov. 14-20, 2012, issue