Fremd girls volleyball coach Curt Pinley found that Briana Taylor was serving quite well in recent practices.
That meant the senior defensive specialist found herself in the starting lineup for the first time on Thursday.
And it was a tailor-made situation for the Vikings' success.
Taylor strung together two key service runs toward the end of each set as the Vikings topped visiting Barrington 25-23, 25-18 in the Mid-Suburban West match.
Her two service points in Set 1, including an ace, gave Fremd a 21-16 lead.
In Set 2, Taylor reeled off 4 straight points which put the Vikings just 2 points from match point at 23-18. She also had an ace in that streak.
A kill from the back row by sophomore Lane Hindenburg and a hitting error by Barrington gave Fremd (8-2, 3-0) the win over the Fillies (3-3, 1-2).
"Those two service runs toward the end of each set made a big difference for us," Pinley said "We needed a little push in the serving department. We saw what Taylor had been doing in practice and we knew she could come into the match and a do a good job."
Taylor admitted there were a few anxious moments at first.
"I was excited but it was kind of nerve-wracking at first," she said. "But the jitters were gone after the first set."
Taylor was 12-for-13 at the line with 2 aces.
"I really like serving," she added. "I've worked on it a lot with my coach at Sky High (club team). I just try and aim for one girl on the other team. It's just a jump float and I try and take the other team out of its system."
As usual, the Vikes' offensive system was clicking under senior setter Marilyn Lortz, who handed out 13 assists. Her favorite targets were Hindenburg (6 kills), Claire Brady (5) and Nicole Obos (4).
In the back row, Nina Scott was 10-of-11 serve receiving followed by Obos (7-of-9) and Taylor (6-of-7). Sophomore middle Maise Koo recorded 2 blocks.
Barrington trailed 12-6 in Set 1 but rallied to tie it at 14-14 (kill by Julia Thompson) and 15-15 (kill by Maggie Daleen) before Fremd got the lead for good on a pair of errors.
Fremd led 24-21 when Barrington received a kill by Lauren Shectman and ace by Emily Watkins to cut it to 24-23.
But Brady was on the back end of quick set from Lortz and put down the set winner.
"This match was a lot similar to our one with Palatine (three-set loss last week)," said Fillies coach Rob Ridenour. "We went through stretches where we play pretty good volleyball and then some where we can't get a serve in bounds. We are searching for some things now and I think we are going to get there."
Thompson and Shectman led the Fillies' attack with 6 kills apiece while Daleen had 3 blocks.
Nicole Amato served a pair of aces and Emily Casaletto collected 8 digs.
"It's frustrating but we have only three returning varsity players," Shectman said. "It's a great group of varsity girls. We are all so close and that's really important for our chemistry."
Pinley's group is tied for first with Palatine in the West.
"Barrington is always tough," Pinley said. "They come in with a lot of past tradition. Any time you can get a win against them, it's an important one. To go 3-0 in the conference, says a lot for where we are at."