Wheaton Academy starts season right, tops Batavia
Batavia might have had a week's worth of games on its side going into a nonconference matchup with visiting Wheaton Academy Tuesday night, but the Warriors had something that proved more valuable.
"Our team has this motto that we play as a family and we play for one reason so it was all a matter of if we were playing for ourselves or for each other and with each other," Warriors junior outside hitter Sydney Vischer said. "I think that's how we did it."
What the Warriors did was overcome deficits in both games of a 25-20, 29-27 victory. Vischer was in the center of the comebacks with a team-high 9 kills.
"That second game we played aggressively, we played for each other, and we didn't give up," Vischer said.
While Batavia (5-3) had already played seven matches, Wheaton Academy (1-0) was playing its season opener.
Warriors coach D.A. Nichols said it showed early when his team played scrappy defense but tentative on its attack. That changed in the second game.
"First game we were just tipping the ball too much, we weren't being aggressive," Nichols said. "I just told them to let go and go for it. That was a big difference, we started getting some swings."
A key point in Game 1 came with the Bulldogs leading 17-16 after an ace from Shea Stanley. The Warriors appeared to tie the score at 17 after a long rally on the next point before officials called the Warriors for a backrow attack from their setter and awarded Batavia the point.
Nichols argued the call to no avail. His players had the answer though, turning that 18-16 deficit into a 25-20 Game 1 win with an ensuing 9-2 run. Vischer tooled a Batavia block for a 23-20 lead, then Bulldog hitting errors on the next two points ended the game.
"I lost my cool there for a second," Nichols said. "It actually gave a little spark to them probably. I've always told my girls whatever is called is called, I will handle those things. They did a great job not letting it affect them."
Batavia responded with a strong start in the second game, taking its biggest lead of the night at 16-9. Once again the Warriors turned the tables, catching Batavia at 19-19 after another string of Bulldog hitting mistakes.
The teams traded clutch plays down the stretch. The Warriors finally put the match away when middle Brianna Tellschow won a 50-50 ball for a 28-27 lead, then the Bulldogs were called for a net violation on the final point just when it looked like Jancy Lundberg had put down a tying kill.
"We put ourselves in that situation," Batavia coach Lori Trippi-Payne said. "We didn't pick up the tipped balls well, we didn't do a good job running things off the free balls, and I think we need to spread our offense out a little better. That was our eighth match of the year so we should have looked better than that."
Heather Meyer led Batavia with 10 kills, Audrey Faulhaber had 11 digs, Shea Thayer 5 kills and Lundberg 2 blocks.
It doesn't get any easier for Batavia Wednesday when it hosts St. Francis.
"We'll just go right back at it tomorrow and hope we learned something tonight," Trippi-Payne said.
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