Addison Trail had a goal of avenging last year's nonconference girls volleyball loss to Bartlett, so the Blazers weren't too happy to find themselves trailing the Hawks in Game 1 Thursday in Addison.
"While we were playing we were thinking about it," said Blazers senior Viviana Hernandez, who led both teams with 9 kills. "We were like, wow, are we really going to let this happen again? When we came to practice the day before we were thinking about it and we were like, that's our team goal, that's what we're coming out to do, and we just mustered up the strength we needed to win."
The Blazers (14-8) came from behind in both games to win 26-24, 25-17.
"When we were in our timeout we said we needed to get our energy up, our passes and we needed to start serving," Hernandez said. "We got that together. We came through."
"We've been struggling this whole year to get a strong jump in each game, it seems like," Blazers coach Dan Styler said. "For some reason they want to battle through the middle of the game and finish strong. Which is great for us to see because we saw in the earlier part of the season they weren't finishing as strong. Our goal is to find a way to piece all of these facets of the game together, beginning, middle and end, and just be really consistent."
In a nip-and-tuck Game 1, Bartlett took a 23-19 lead and seemed ready to put the Blazers away.
"Game 1 we played really well," said Bartlett coach Michele Bickus. "Our net play was fantastic. We were blocking a lot of balls."
Instead the Blazers came back to tie the game at 23, then Hernandez served the final two points for the victory.
"That's not a rare situation for us," Styler said. "I think we know we can battle back in those spots.
"The unique part of it is one of the strongest parts of our game is serving, and one of the girls that finished the match with a couple of serves in a row is Viviana Hernandez, and she has a really strong jump serve. A lot of teams would pull the reins back and say, you know what? Just get it in instead of getting your most aggressive serve. We have a lot of confidence that our girls will hit those in pressure points."
Bartlett (4-15) went ahead 4-1 in Game 2 but couldn't sustain that momentum.
"I didn't doubt us at all," Hernandez said. "I was still confident that we were going to win. We came to win and we had practiced hard, so we knew we were ready."
With the game tied at 14, Blazers freshman Nina Capuani started serving, and Addison Trail started rolling, taking the next nine points before Bartlett broke the streak. Again Hernandez served for the win and got it on a kill by senior Sabrina Muell.
"For six or seven points we just kind of mentally broke down," Bickus said. "We were having trouble with the serve receive. They're a good serving team. And then everything just kind of fell apart, couldn't put a ball away."