The Crystal Lake South girls volleyball team sought to capitalize on the momentum of last weekend's second-place finish at the Asics Preview when it invaded Huntley Tuesday night.
Huntley's goal was to shake off last Thursday's upset loss at Dundee-Crown and rebound with a win to tie the Gators atop the Valley Division of the Fox Valley Conference.
Strong defensive play from senior libero Hannah Wilson (7 digs) and junior defensive specialist Tori Falbo (5 digs) put the multifaceted offense of No. 6 CL South on the attack. And attack the dangerous Gators did throughout an efficient 25-17, 25-15 sweep of No. 19 Huntley.
"I have a new libero and new (defensive specialists) and they've really stepped it up to be aggressive and do what I ask them to do and work hard," said CL South coach Jorie Fontana, whose team improved to 15-2 overall, 5-0 in the FVC Valley. "The serve receive was great."
"Most of it is just communication," Wilson said of CL South's strong defensive effort. "We need to figure out who needs to get the seams and who needs to take charge and step up in the back row. I think we did that and really dug up everything we could and got touches."
Meanwhile, Huntley (9-4, 3-2) struggled with serve receive to the tune of 6 outright errors and multiple off-target passes. Another aspect of Huntley's game irked coach Karen Liss more.
"A lack of intensity. It was disappointing," she said. "Coming off the loss we had, we knew that was a bump in the road. Our goal was to get the girls fired up knowing this was a huge game for us. They prepared very hard the last couple of days, but we came out with no intensity and the serve receive was off. It was disappointing."
CL South pulled away from a 14-14 tie in the first set with an 11-3 surge to win it. Junior outside hitter Carly Nolan (7 kills) and senior middle Nicole Slimko (6 kills) each delivered spikes for points and setter Cassy Sivesind deposited an overpass to the hardwood during the run. Junior middle Emma Burkle's soft tip found the floor to clinch the first set.
"I thought we really worked together as a team and kept our composure," Slimko said. "When they had the ball we really worked hard on siding out right away."
The second set was tied 7-7 until Sivesind (21 assists) and the diverse Gator offense again found their rhythm. Burkle gave CL South the lead for good with a kill down the right sideline, Slimko made it 15-10 when she pounded a quick back set from Sivesind and senior outside hitter Avalon Nero buried one of her 4 kills for an 18-14 lead.
The Gators finished on a 7-1 run, highlighted by consecutive stuff kills from Burkle and capped by a match-point spike from Slimko.
"We're definitely on a streak right now," Sivesind said. "We just have to keep it going. After a tough weekend last weekend, this was really nice."
Senior libero Rachel Shores finished with 9 digs and senior outside hitter Erin Lyman had 7 kills to lead Huntley.