Huntley girls volleyball coach Karen Liss could finally breathe a little easier.
In an intense 3-game match, Liss' Red Raiders escaped Crystal Lake Thursday night with a hard-fought 25-15, 22-25, 25-22 win over host Prairie Ridge in Fox Valley Conference Valley Division action. The match lasted 1 hour and 20 minutes.
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"We had a chance to close out the match in two games and we didn't get it done," said Liss. "We need to learn to close out matches when we have a chance. But, we settled the kids down between the second and third game and we played with confidence in the third game. We got back in the third game to playing aggressive like we did the first game and half the second game. Our serving and serve receive was tough when we needed it.''
In the third and decisive game, Prairie Ridge grabbed a 22-21 lead on a kill by Kennedy McNeil off a perfect set from Taylor Otto. But the Red Raiders (5-2, 1-0) didn't panic and closed out the game and match
by scoring the final 4 points.
Freshman Alyson Dion, who collected 6 aces on the night, delivered an ace to tie the match at 22-22. Sophomore Erin Erb scored the final 3 points on 2 kills and a match-ending ace to give the Red Raiders the 3-game victory.
"Our young kids really came through in the clutch," said Liss. "Alyson Dion got some clutch aces and Erin Erb came up with some big kills. This was a nice win on the road. I am proud of the kids."
Emily Westermeyer paced the Red Raiders with 8 kills while Erb collected 6 kills and senior Rachael Kisten delivered 5 kills and had 4 blocks. Junior setter Kelsey DeWulf collected 25 assists.
"It was a crazy match, especially in the third game," said Kisten. "It was hard at times to stay calm. Coach Liss kept us calm between the second and third game and told us we had to stay aggressive and keep working as a team. We have expectations as a team. We expect to be one of the top dogs in the conference."
McNeill paced the Wolves' offensive attack with 14 kills and 4 blocks. Kaitlyn Turskey had 12 kills while Maddie Drain and Ali Witt delivered 8 kills. Otto came up with 22 assists for the Wolves.