Even-keeled Keelty powers big Palatine win
Liz Keelty has one of the top serving percentages for Palatine's girls volleyball team.
So when the senior missed two serves in Game 1 Tuesday night against Fremd, she was determined to get things right in Game 2.
She sure got them right, and she got Palatine on its way to its biggest win of the season.
Game 2 was tied at 6-6 when Keelty served for 8 straight points, igniting the Pirates to a 25-23, 25-21 victory over visiting Fremd.
It was Palatine's first win in the Mid-Suburban West and dropped Fremd, which had been tied for first, into second with a 3-2 record Barrington and Schaumburg.
"Without a doubt, I wanted to make up for the two missed serves," said Keelty, who had 4 of her 5 aces during her big serving streak which pulled the Pirates into a commanding 14-6 lead. "I just owed it to my team to execute the best I could there."
A 'lift' call finally ended Keelty's serve but the Pirates kept the momentum and led 24-14 on an ace by senior Hannah Bridier.
Fremd managed to keep things interesting as junior Aubrey Stegich (2 aces) held off match point 6 times, the final one coming on a hitting error that made it 24-21.
But junior Nora Walsh put down her team-high fifth kill of the match to send the Pirates (4-12, 1-4) home with the win.
"We just finally got our momentum together," said Keelty, a defensive specialist who also had 6 digs. "We are coming together well as a team."
Walsh just recently joined the team and has made an immediate impact.
"This is kind of Nora's introduction to the varsity and she has really stepped up," said Pirates coach Dan Gavin.
The Pirates led 24-23 when Meg Angelaccio produced 3 digs in the rally before Walsh put down the game-winner.
"I was definitely happier with our defense, especially Meg," Gavin said. " We challenged her on the last point in Game 1 and she came up with those 3 digs."
Sophomore Heather Holz added 4 kills for the Pirates followed by Angelaccio (3) and Kim Butler (2), who also had a pair of blocks.
As usual, junior setter Caitlin Riedy directed the attack, handing out 18 assists from 48 sets.
Attack leaders for the Vikings were (10-8, 3-2) were Hope Schroeder (4 kills), Carly Roberts (2) and Maise Koo (2).
Roberts and Lane Hindenburg served 2 aces apiece while setters Jackie Mursuli (7 assists) and Roberts (4) directed the attack.
"We told the girls no matter what their record is, Palatine is always going to give Fremd its best game," said Vikings coach Curt Pinley. "And they did and we didn't answer. They played aggressively. They kept the ball off the floor. They did all the little things they needed to do to win."
The Vikings trailed Schaumburg and Barrington by one match.
"We told the girls we are still in control of our own destiny if we run the table," Pinley said. "But, we have to run the table."
Angelaccio led the back row for Palatine with 9 digs while Bridier collected 6.
"This is a really a nice conference win against a quality Fremd team," Gavin said. "But they (Fremd) will be there at the end. We just played an outstanding match tonight."
"Liz really came through. She is one of our top servers. She was hitting her zones and took Fremd out of its rhythm. and that's one of the things we wanted to do."
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