The night started with a terrific rendition of the national anthem by Craig Pinley.
It ended with Craig watching his brother Curt hit yet another high note in his career as the girls and boys volleyball coach at Fremd High School.
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Curt Pinley's Vikings got their first win over visiting Palatine in three tries season.
The 25-13, 22-25, 25-15 Mid-Suburban West triumph on Tuesday was the 300th for Pinley as a girls coach. He also has more than 350 as a boys coach.
"He's a very motivational coach," said Vikes senior Nicole Obos, who put down 5 kills in the match with 5-of-6 serve receives. "He knows when we are in a funk and how to bring us out of it. He's always trying to bring us up as a team and he always has our back."
"That's amazing," said Vikes libero Nina Scott of her coach's milestone win. "He works so hard for our team and we wanted to prove that he deserves it."
Scott had 13 digs and was 12-of-12 on serve receive. Also highlighting the Vikes' 17th win of the season was the play of sophomore Lane Hindenburg, who was 26-of-27 attacking with a match-high 16 kills.
Senior Claire Brady was also effective, going 12-of-12 with 7 kills in an offense set ever so steadily by senior Marilyn Lortz (35 assists), who also had a handful of nifty second-attack kills.
The Mid-Suburban West champion Pirates (19-5, 8-2) were without their top attacker, Dayton-bound Taylor Fricano (illness). But Val Soderstrom, Hannah Bridier and Cassie Chaplinsky all chipped in at the net, as setters Alex Heidrich and Sarah Schiffner helped get them the ball.
"That (playing without Fricano) was unfortunate for them," Obos said. "But at the same time we played as well as we could."
"I know Taylor was out, but I still thought overall Palatine played a good match and they made us play a good match," Pinley said. "We had a rough time last week (in losses to Barrington and Schaumburg). But this was a nice boost for us."
After rallying to take Set 2, Palatine fell behind 17-3 in Set 3 and could never recover.
The Vikes got a big service run of 10 straight points (2 aces) from senior Christine Cammenga, which gave them the 14-point cushion.
"Christine did a really nice job," Pinley said. "I'm a big fan of hers. She works so hard in practice so it's nice to see her come in and be so successful tonight. That was fun."
Pinley has had fun in his 15 years coaching the Vikings girls.
"I didn't earn any of the wins," he said. "It's my coaching staff that has given me the great players to work with.
"Nick Vassos and Mark O'Kelly have been with the program for more than 10 years. Without my coaches, we would not have had the success we've had as a program. It makes a huge difference having quality coaches."
Gavin felt Fremd (17-6, 7-3) gave a quality effort at the service line in Set 3.
"Fremd did a great job serving and took us out of system," Gavin said. "Overall, I was not totally disappointed with how we played. We had a couple of goals and I thought we reached them to a certain extent.
"Other than the major breakdown in serve receive (Set 3), I thought we had people step up like Val Soderstrom on serve receive and she did a nice job on offensively. Hannah Bridier really started to turn things for us. It was a little late but things are headed in the right direction. We're a team trying to get better."
Not many sing the national anthem better than Craig Pinley, a minister in downstate Paxton.
"Every time he sings it, it gives us a little more energy," Curt said. "It was fun again to listen."
And Craig had fun watching his brother's milestone victory.
"That's a great accomplishment," said Gavin who has led Palatine to its first MSL division crown since 1997. "Not only does it show success season in and season out, but it's also the passion he shows for the game to stick around and keep coaching. Hats off to Curt."