GALESBURG — The Carl Sandburg College volleyball team had leads in the middle stages of each set, but 10th-ranked Sauk Valley rallied to take each one and sweep the Chargers 25-21, 25-20, 25-12 on Thursday at John M. Lewis Gymnasium in a battle of the top two teams in the Arrowhead Conference.
A kill from Josalyn Owens (Lincoln, Ill./Lincoln) gave the Chargers (13-8, 4-2) a 16-14 first-set lead, but the Skyhawks (18-3, 6-0) ran off five straight points on Bailey O’Brien’s serve to go ahead for good. Sandburg got back within one at 20-19, but Sauk Valley took four of the next five to set up set point.
Owens capped a 5-1 Chargers spurt in the second with a kill for an 11-10 advantage, but Sauk Valley followed with another five-point, go-ahead run. Sandburg responded with three straight points of its own, but the Skyhaws answered back with four straight, capped by an O’Brien ace, to extend their lead to 19-14.
With the Chargers ahead 12-9 in the third, the Skyhawks closed the match on a 16-0 run behind O’Brien’s jump serve, including a pair of aces.
Both of Sandburg’s conference losses have come against Sauk Valley, which has won the last three Arrowhead titles. The Skyhwks have a two-game lead in the league standings with four matches to play.
Owens had a team-leading 13 kills for Sandburg, and Hannah Thompson (Blandinsville, Ill./West Prairie) and Lexi Strange (Emden, Ill./Hartsburg-Emden) each had five kills. Strange also added two blocks for the Chargers.
Emma Derry (Augusta, Ill./Southeastern) handed out 15 assists and, Haley Stevenson (Galesburg, Ill./Galesburg) posted two first-set aces for Sandburg. Libero Adre Vetter (Emden, Ill./Hartsburg-Emden) had 18 digs to pace the Chargers defensively.
Sandburg will be off for the weekend before hosting Kishwaukee at 6 p.m. Tuesday in another Arrowhead match.