At this stage, any win will do whether it’s a one-star or five-star performance.
Eureka was sloppy at times, but still had enough to eliminate sectional host Farmington 25-21, 25-17 on Oct. 30.
Elsewhere, the Hornets pounded Peru St. Bede 25-4, 25-16 in an Oct. 26 regional final on the latter’s homecourt that lasted 40 minutes.
Eureka (30-8) trailed for a majority of the first set. Their first lead was not until 18-17 on a service ace from Katie Underwood (eight points).
According to Hornets’ coach Tracy Heffren, Farmington (18-14) was able to feed off their home fans.
“I knew they were going to come out fired up,” she said. “They had a loud crowd. They’re a scrappy team. They were ready to play. It was a good atmosphere to play in.”
The Hornets were on top at 17-10 and threatened to cakewalk in set two, but the Farmers crawled back to 17-16 on a hitting error from Eureka.
As she had been most of the match, Courtney Heffren proved to be a terror for the Farmers. The junior recorded a kill and tacked on three more to give the Hornets a 21-16 cushion. For the match, the outside hitter finished with a career-high 20 kills and also added 14 digs.
“I just think she had a good matchup,” said her mother. “She was able to utilize the fact there was a smaller blocker on her and she took advantage.”
Thirteen of the younger Heffren’s kill total came in the second set including her final one on match point. Hailey Flowers added eight kills and 11 digs.
Maddie McCunn handed out 31 assists.
Farmington received five kills from season leader Bailey Shymansky. Hailey Huis provided 12 assists.
Before anybody could blink, the Hornets opened a 7-0 lead on the Bruins (21-14). The points arrived by way of four McCunn service aces, two kills and a block from C. Heffren.
“I’m pretty sure that was our strongest set of the season,” stated T. Heffren, who guided the program to a third consecutive regional title. “They’re a determined team. They know they have to come out very aggressive and they did.”
A kill from Hallie McGuire got PSB on the board. The 5-foot-10 junior, who recorded 17 kills against Illini Bluffs, finished with six. As a team, PSB only had eight.
Collectively, Flowers (seven) and C. Heffren (six) combined for 13 kills in the first set.
“When we switched sides, I told them this match is not over,” Coach Heffren said. “You know they were going to have a good crowd. Just make sure you do not lose focus and play aggressive.”
PSB put up more a fight in the second set, as they scored the first three points. The Bruins’ last lead was 9-8.
A dig from Flowers gave the Hornets the advantage for good at 12-11. The 6-foot junior notched a triple-double with 12 kills, 11 points and 10 digs.
Less than two weeks ago, Eureka made an offensive switch from a 6-2 to a 5-1.
“You never know how a team is going to react, but they’ve handled it well,” T. Heffren said. “They’ve really bought in.”
McCunn finished the match with 22 assists, while C. Heffren ended with nine kills. Katie Morin tacked on 11 digs.