Libertyville gets into winning, together
He meant no disrespect.
Libertyville girls volleyball coach Greg Loika just wanted to give some other girls a chance to play.
So there was a slight delay in the action late in set two of the Libertyville-Carmel matchup on Monday night.
There were so many substitutes entering the game it was difficult to keep track of them.
Enter Dana Kym, Francesca Fusco, Vicky Liu, Kate Jarecki and Cassie Ostmeyer. It was their chance to play against the neighbor down the street.
"It really gave them some experience for next year," said outside hitter Taylor Zant.
Set one was really interesting as 12-game winner Libertyville had its hands full with this good Carmel squad. The second set wasn't as close.
Libertyville prevailed 25-20, 25-16 in this nonconference match.
"Carmel was pretty scrappy," Loika said. "In that first set, we couldn't get the momentum. I felt we had control of the second set and I wanted to get some other girls some action."
Set one was the worth the price of admission. Libertyville (12-3) led early as Zant (5 kills) delivered a hit at the Corsairs. That lead was 8-5.
"We played pretty well," Zant said. "I don't know if everybody was up for this match. We had just played a huge match with Stevenson and this one wasn't as big."
And then this set tightened up. Carmel's Caitlin Berry notched a serving ace and another point pulled the Corsairs (16-9) within 16-14. Four times the Corsairs would crawl within a single point in that set.
Carmel's run of coming close ended with Maura Zawaski serving.
After that, the two veterans in Libertyville's lineup took charge at the serving line.
Kristen Webb (23 digs) used another Zant kill to open up a bigger lead. And setter Cindy Zhou (15 assists) closed the set with an ace and a Julie Smagacz (4 kills) hit and Libertyville had held on.
Set two wasn't as competitive.
"It was our errors," said Carmel coach David Pazely. "Everybody saw it. Their blocking was solid and our hitting dropped off."
Both Zhou and Liu set the tone of the second set early at the serving line.
Liu shot off an ace and got a kill from Rhiannon Prentiss. It was quickly 6-2.
Prentiss went to serve and watched as Zhou dumped a kill from her setting spot and Smagacz slammed one down. It was 12-6 Wildcats.
It wasn't Carmel's finest hour as Alexandra Wayland launched the only kill of that set for the Corsairs. Owning a healthy lead in set two, Loika reached for his bench for help.
"It's nice when you put in subs and you don't see a drop off in performance," he said.
Carmel's attack was led by sophomore Gracie Schofield (4 kills). Versatile Alyssa Armada checked in with 3 kills, 4 digs and 7 assists.
Zant was still impressed with the visitors.
"Carmel is a great, scrappy team," she said.
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