When the 2012 girls volleyball campaign began Crystal Lake South coach Jorie Fontana thought her Gators had enough talent to claim the Fox Valley Conference Valley Division championship.
Fontana proved to be a visionary.
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Defeating Jacobs 25-13, 25-23 Tuesday night on Senior Night at Gator Alley, South gained at least a share of the Valley title with crosstown rival Prairie Ridge.
PR (10-1 FVC Valley), which defeated McHenry 2-0 Tuesday, will share the conference championship with South with a home win against Cary-Grove Thursday night. The Gators, 26-9 overall, finish league play with a 11-1 mark.
"I thought at the beginning of the conference season even though we are young we had the talent to win the conference," said Fontana. "This group is very young but very talented. This group has come together as a team, adjusted as the season has gone on and have mentally grown up. This is a great accomplishment for this group and everybody on this team has made a contribution. "
With the extra incentive of Senior Night, the Gators shocked the visiting Golden Eagles by scoring the first 6 points of the match. Sophomore Carly Nolan collected 3 kills as South jumped to a quick advantage.
Jacobs (25-9, 6-5) never really challenged the Gators. An ace by senior setter Lindsey Murphy gave the Gators a 1-0 lead in the match.
Jacobs, led by Alyssa Ehrhardt, gave South more of a push in Game 2. Three straight kills by Ehrhardt, who will play collegiately at Toledo, gave the Eagles an early 9-7 lead.
The resilient Gators bounced back with a 7-0 run led by 3 kills from Avalon Nero to take a 14-9 lead.
Jacobs didn't quit and eventually tied the game at 23 on a kill by Ehrhardt. But the Gators scored the final 2 points of the game and match on a pair of kills by senior Kylie Portera.
Nero led the Gators with 9 kills, followed by Nolan with 8 kills and Portera contributed 6 kills. Murphy collected 24 assists and had 10 digs for the winners.
"What a great Senior Night," said Portera. "We came out with a lot of energy and intensity. Winning conference is something you dream of."
Ehrhardt led Jacobs with 12 kills while Maris Smith contributed 7 kills.
"We didn't pass well the first game, but we played much better in the second game, " said Jacobs coach Lisa Dwyer. "We wanted it in the second game and fought hard."