Saturday night’s girls volleyball Division 1 sectional title match between Burlington and Janesville Parker played out according to script.
The two-time defending state champion Demons were too tall and too talented for the Vikings.
Top-seeded and top-ranked Burlington rolled to a 3-0 win. The Demons overpowered the second-seeded Vikes 25-9, 25-19 and 25-8.
Parker, which finished an impressive 33-11 on the season, started slow in the first and third sets, and despite playing a spirited second set in which it trailed only 19-18, the Vikings had no answer for Burlington’s one-two punch of outside hitters Emily Alan and Morgan Klein.
Parker senior Tina Shelton said the Demons were as good as advertised.
“Their flow and timing is completely different than anybody we played all season,” Shelton said. “You can see why they’ve won state the last two years. They do everything well.
“But I think we could’ve played with them if they hadn’t gotten into our heads. We were getting frustrated instead of just going out and having fun like we talked about at practice last night.”
Burlington rolled to a 25-9 win in the first set. Alan and Klein set the tone with four kills each.
Parker probably could not play any better than it did in the second set but still came up short. The Vikings fell behind 18-13 but stormed back and eventually cut the deficit to 19-18 on Lexi Walters’ ace.
Burlington regrouped after taking its only timeout of the match and rattled off five straight points to go up 24-18. The second set ended on Mackenzie Leach’s service ace.
The third set was all Demons. They scored the first eight points of the set and never let the Vikings back in. The lead eventually grew to 15-2.
Parker’s Andy Kimball, the Big Eight’s coach of the year, said his team had nothing to hang their heads about.
“We had moments where we looked like we could compete with them, especially the second set,” Kimball said. “But because they’re so big and we’re not, their defense made it really difficult to hit it over the top of them.
“And although you never want to have a moral victory, if you’re going to lose, lose to the best, and we did.
“I can’t say enough about this group of girls. They put together the best season Parker has had in 25 years.”
A great season that ended one win from a state tournament berth.
BURLINGTON 3, PARKER 0
Janesville Parker 9 19 8
Burlington 25 25 25
Parker leaders: Aces—Lexi Walters, Carlie Curtis 1. Kills—Rachel Van Beek 4. Digs—Curtis 8. Assists—Shay Riley 12