CRYSTAL LAKE – Last week’s loss to Cary-Grove left the Crystal Lake South volleyball team with a bad taste in their mouths. But after a nonconference win and some important adjustments, the Gators looked like a completely different team in Tuesday night’s home win over McHenry, 25-17, 25-13.
Crystal Lake South (10-3, 3-1 FVC Valley) coach Jorie Fontana said that her team’s focus on the mental part of the game was a big reason for their quick turnaround after a tough loss to the Trojans. The Gators responded by defeating St. Charles North on Sept. 12 and kept their new win streak going against McHenry (3-3, 0-3 FVC Valley).
“They did a great job of having that ability to have a frustrating match and then have a great match,” Fontana said. “They’re getting it, and they’re starting to see that talent will take you so far. Mental will take you the rest of the way.”
The Warriors also focused on the mental part of the game on Tuesday. According to coach Jeff Brunstrum, the Warriors game plan was to spread the ball around to multiple hitters, and in that sense, they were successful. Alex Martens and Haley Kornfeind tied for the team lead with four kills each, and setter Zoe Lindsey added 12 assists.
But despite good execution by multiple Warriors hitters, the Gators offense was too much to match. In contrast with the Warriors efforts to spread the ball around, South found success by feeding the ball to hitter Carly Nolan, who finished with eight kills.
“There’s no question to anyone that walks in that she’s their No. 1 (hitter),” Brunstrum said. “You give a great hitter enough swings, and she’s going to find the court eventually.”
South also benefited from four kills by Abby Marchewka, as well as three from Emma Burkle. Kendall Kilberger led the Gators with nine assists.
The players on South’s sideline had good reason to be satisfied with the match they played, but it was also a fitting day for a Gators win.
“We came out and played our own game,” Nolan said. “We played at our own level, so I think that showed.”
Game Ball Carly Nolan, Crystal Lake South senior
The Gators hitter had a match-high eight kills in her team’s dominant win over McHenry.
The Number 3 –
Unsuccessful tries by McHenry to earn their first win on the Valley side of the Fox Valley Conference. They’ll try again against Jacobs Tuesday, Sept. 23.
The Big Play
South’s first six kills in the second game of the match all came from Nolan on the way to a 12-point victory.
Crystal Lake South 2
CL South leaders: Kills- Carly Nolan 8, Abigail Marchewka 4; Digs: Abigail Marchewka 5, Victoria Falbo 3.
McHenry leaders: Kills- Alexandria Martens 4, Haley Kornfeind 4; Digs: Haley Kornfeind 7, Ava Pauly 7.