With her team trailing Lake Zurich 23-18 in Set 2 of the championship match of the 38th annual Hersey girls volleyball tournament, Katie Krebs stepped to the service line.
"I was just trying not to look at the scoreboard," said the Huskies junior defensive specialist. "I didn't want to choke. I was just trying to serve to the zone my coaches gave me."
When it comes to Hersey invites, the Huskies are in a zone.
After Krebs got the tourney hosts to within 23-22 of Lake Zurich, Carly Pisano eventually served the dramatic final 3 points to give the Huskies (14-3) a fourth straight tourney title with a 25-23, 26-24 triumph.
"It was intense," said Huskies senior Anna Mullen-Muhr, who had 3 kills in the title match. "It was nerve-wracking. We just made sure we didn't get down if we made a mistake. We came right back."
Lake Zurich (10-6) was able to come right back from a 7-1 deficit in Set 1 and got ahead 19-15 with a 5-0 run, including a kill by Layne Self. An ace by Ashley Dina gave the Bears the 23-18 lead when Krebs got to the line.
Her 4-point run included kills by freshman Liz Fuerst and senior Taylor Schill. After a Lake Zurich timeout at 23-21, Courtney Stedman blocked an overpass to make it 23-22.
Lake Zurich got to set point on a kill (24-22) by Mallory Parsons before Hersey pulled it on Pisano's clutch serving with back-to-back blocks by Erica Hill and Fuerst and a tip by Krebs for the match-winner.
"Katie came through -- she didn't miss a serve (11-of-11 for match)," said Huskies coach Nancy Lill, who now has 755 career wins of which almost 100 came when Lake Zurich assistant coach Lauren Dembkowski was a standout Huskies from 2004 to 2008.
Dembkowski, who played for Carthage, is in her first season in coach Matt Aiello's program.
Aiello was not around for the Bears first four wins on Saturday. The former Buffalo Grove volleyball standout was with his wife Tracy bringing home their four-day old baby girl Macy Marie from Centegra Hospital-McHenry.
Aiello arrived in Arlington Heights in time to coach the title match.
"Realistically, we should have won both games," he said. "We had the advantage at the end of each one. We just didn't finish. That's a credit to Hersey. And I'm OK with it on September 15.
"I'm just glad to see the girls played together and they were still laughing afterward in the team huddle. It doesn't matter if you win or lose, if you get better from it. And they got better."
Nicole Morrissey led the Bears with 5 kills in the title match while Kiley McPeek anchored the defense with 17 digs.
Self came up with a pair of kills, 4 blocks, 4 aces and 8 digs while Kristen Walding had 24 assists.
Hersey's top attackers were Gabriella Olhava (5 kills), Stedman (4) Hill (4) and Fuerst (4) as Northern Florida bound Abby Fesl handed out 19 assists from a59-of-59 setting.
Fesl also had 8 digs, 1 ace and 1 kill.
Schaumburg (9-7, 3-2 in tourney) took third place with a 25-22, 25-18 triumph over Zion-Benton.
For the tourney, Kelly Koutnik (34 kills) Kiana Lewis (26) and Jada Blackwell (13) led the Saxons' attack which was set by Marisa Christy (39 assists) and Blackwell (38). Hannah Moore helped anchor the back row with 25 digs while Lewis had 24 and Koutnik 23.
Hoffman Estates defeated Elgin in the third-place consolation match. Clare Shaffer led the Hawks with 28 kills in the tourney while Sarah Willie had 13 and Destinee Young (10). Shaffer and Willie each served 6 aces.
Aurora Christian Invite: Rolling Meadows (12-6) took first place with a 5-0 record defeating all but one of it opponents in two sets, the exception being a 24-26 25-9 15-7 win over Wilmington.
Rachel Mickey (24 kills), Ashley Montanez (21 kills) and Morgan Keller (19 kills) led the Mustangs' attack set by Jenny Vliet (89-of-91, 44 assists) and Sami Kay (97-100, 36 assists).
Mia Harper was 50-of-55 with 8 aces while Vliet was 40-of-42 with 6 aces.
Mickey led in blocks (10) while Grace Skorin (15 digs), Harper (15) and Amy Wenzel (12) led the defense.
Glenbard West Invite: Fremd (14-4) notched two-set wins over Streamwood and Glenbard South before the host Hilltoppers defeated the Vikings 25-17, 25-22 in the title match.
Prospect (6-6) also went 4-1 in the invite with its only loss to Geneva.
Senior Holly Hunt was named to the all-tournament team and led the Knights on attack with 30 kills, followed by Julie Mazur (12) and Sam Loebbaka (12). Top servers were (49-of-56, 16 aces) and Carly Thompson (36-of-47, 8 aces).
Hunt also had 10 blocks while Lauren Yearian had 9 and Thompson 7.
Maggie Haaning (49 assists) and Bree Geweniger (24) set the attack while Annie Geweniger led the back row with 35 digs.
St. Viator Invite: Rockford Boylan topped Rock Falls 25-14, 25-17 for the title while Immaculate Conception got past Elk Grove 25-22, 25-17 for third place.
The Grens, who won the Resurrection Invite last week with a 5-0 record, were 3-2 in Arlington Heights and stand at 12-10 overall.
Conant (8-10), which lost to state-ranked Rockford Boylan and highly-ranked Immaculate Conception, came back and won the consolation championship round.
The Cougars used a combination of 11 players.
"Each girl made a tremendous contribution to our success," said Cougars coach Peggy Scholten. "With four seniors, three juniors and four sophomores, the girls showed great camaraderie and intensity throughout the tournament."
Suzi Loznjakovic (56 assists) and Elise Ambrose (17 assists) set the Cougars' attack led by Jenn Donnell (25 kills), Daniele Sortino (18), Katie Lomas (10), Sarah Manczko (9) and DeeDee Durr (8).
Megan Mueller (38 kills), Mary Cleary (27 kills) and Molly Ziegler (14 kills) were top attackers for the host Lions (7-12), who defeated Guerin Prep for seventh place.