ORANGE CITY, Iowa | Corrina Timmermans may not have liked the call but she knew what it meant.
"I had better step it up," the Unity Christian junior said after being called for a net violation in the fifth set of a Class 2A regional semifinal against Hinton. "I was probably over the net, but it made me want to do better."
Timmermans and the rest of the fifth-ranked Knights did just that as they pulled out a 25-16, 22-25, 25-16, 15-25, 15-10 victory over the No. 9 Blackhawks here Thursday night.
"This definitely boosts our confidence and we are going to use it going forward," said Unity junior hitter Jori Bronner, who led the Knights with 25 kills. "They are always attacking and they have three hitters which is challenging because they are all skilled."
Hinton jumped out to a quick 5-2 lead in the fifth but after Timmermans, who had 21 kills, was whistled she would go on to collect three kills and an ace in the final set. The Knights will face No. 10 Treynor in the region final Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Sioux City East High School with a trip to the state tournament on the line.
"She will use that as fuel sometimes to move her on and she is a pretty determined player, " said Unity Christian Coach Patty Timmermans of her daughter's play after the net call. "All our kids did well and they kept their heads good even though (Hinton) started with a little run."
"We just needed to believe in ourselves a little bit in that fifth set because at times both teams were getting runs and catching the other on their heels a little bit. A lot of great volleyball on both sides of the court."
Coach Timmermans told her team to play aggressively in that fifth set and they did that by winning nine of the final 14 points. But that statement was equally true throughout the whole night.
Unity (23-10) dominated the first set as it got out to a 12-4 lead with Corrina Timmermans collecting seven kills in the set and Bronner had four. The Knights were able to stay in system while the Blackhawks struggled with their passing.
"That was good so we could get our confidence right away and even if they took a set from us down the road that we knew we could play strong," said Coach Timmermans, who watched setter Erin Wieringa dish out 36 assists in the match.
Hinton did score seven of the last nine points of the set to take some momentum into the second set.
The Blackhawks (22-11) led the entire second set, but it was anything but easy. Hinton rolled off eight straight points to take a 21-11 lead with a pair of aces from Kaley Stoulp and a pair of kills from Allyssa Traver. However, the Knights responded by taking 11 of the next 12 points to tie the set at 22-all on a Bronner kill.
Hinton would level the match on a Aspen Coffee kill and a pair of hitting errors.
It was the Knights' turn to build a lead in the third set only to see Hinton pull within 14-12 on a block and a kill from Bryce Klein. After another Knight run, the Blackhawks would get as close as three before Unity scored the final five points with kills from Bronner, Corrina Timmermans and Janie Schoonhoven.
The Blackhawks showed their grit as they were never seriously challenged in the fourth set getting out to an 11-2 lead.
"My girls fought to the very end and they put their heart and soul into this match," Hinton Coach Mary Jo Coleman said. "We picked it up, we fought and we believed in ourselves and that is half the battle."
A tight match was to be expected as Unity Christian finished just ahead of the Blackhawks to win the War Eagle Conference. The Knights, who were a state semifinalist last year, won the only meeting between the two teams this season 22-25, 30-28, 30-28, 25-19.
"This is huge and we knew this was going to be a tough one tonight because Hinton is a great team," Coach Timmermans said. "I have to give credit to their libero (Stoulp) because wow did she get her hands on a lot of balls tonight."