Victorious Buffalo Grove hungry for more
Alaina Murphy had been waiting four years.
That's how many seasons the senior outside hitter has been a varsity volleyball player for Buffalo Grove and had never defeated Hersey in a match — until last Saturday at the Lake Park Invite, and then Tuesday night.
Saturday was only the appetizer.
Tuesday was the main course.
No. 11 Buffalo Grove stunned No. 6 Hersey 25-22, 21-25, 25-22 to advance to the championship of its own Class AA girls volleyball regional.
The Bison (18-18) will face No. 3 Stevenson (29-7) at 6 p.m. on Thursday night for the title.
"It can't get any better," said Murphy, who was better on attack than anyone with a match-high 14 kills with 9 digs and 3 aces. "We all played with heart. It's our biggest win in four years for sure.
"Hersey fought hard but we stayed with them."
"I thought Alaina (Murphy) was ripping the ball," said Hersey coach Nancy Lill, whose team (22-14) won its 11th straight Mid-Suburban East title this fall. "She was a dominant force at the net."
Like the first two games, the third went down to the final points.
Tied at 22, the Bison nudged ahead on a block by Murphy when Hersey called timeout.
BG came up big at the net again as Colleen Nowlan and Murphy were there for a block (24-22) before a net violation gave BG the win.
"Easily my biggest win," said Bison three-year outside hitter Sarah Rivera, who had 6 kills. "I never thought it would happen, but we all knew we could do it. We fought for every point and so did Hersey."
BG made its point in Game 1 when it rallied from a 3-0 deficit that came of Courtney Stedman's serve. The Bison and Hersey were tied 10 times after that.
Murphy's kill broke a 20-20 knot. Gabri Olhava's kill off a quick set by Stedman got Hersey to within 23-21 but 2 service errors by Hersey gave BG the game.
"We made some adjustment in Game 2 and Dani Havel (sophomore defensive specialist) stepped up and did a nice job." Lill said. "Our passing got much better but then it went south again."
Senior Megan Solans served 6 straight points to get the Huskies rolling in Game 2. Her back-to-back aces gave Hersey a 7-3 cushion.
Solans finished with 7 kills and 14-of-15 serving with 2 aces.
"Megan had an all-around great match," Lill said. "It's the best I've seen her play. We are going to miss all our seniors. Carly Pisano did a great job all season.
"Katie Krebs is one of the best liberos in the state. Without her, we wouldn't have been any where this season. And Jola Ignaciuk was a big contributor this season."
The Huskies increased the lead to 15-8 but BG came back to tie it at 18-18.
It was tied at 21-21 when Hersey got back to-back kills by Stedman, a kill by Solans and a hitting error by BG to win the game.
A kill by Murphy in Game 3 gave BG a 15-11 lead.
Hersey came back to tie it at 18-18 and went ahead 19-18 on a hitting error.
Priban called for a timeout. The Bison regrouped and re-claimed the lead moments later at 21-20 on an ace by Rivera.
Solans' kill tied it at 22 before BG scored the final 3 points.
"They came back and got the lead son us in Game 3," Priban said. "It was huge that we didn't let that get to our heads. We stayed in the game mentally."
The Bison felt the narrow three-game win over Hersey at Lake Park played a factor Tuesday.
"That definitely helped," said Bison standout libero Lea Masciopinto, who suffered a jammed thumb in warm-ups and played through the pain with a bandaged hand. "With that win on Saturday we knew it was possible to win again. We just gave it everything we had and wanted to win more than anything."
Masciopinto came up with 8 digs and served 3 aces.
"Lea fought through that injury and played a heck of a match." Priban said. "Winning the match (over Hersey) on Saturday was a huge mental hurdle for us. It showed us that we could contend with them, and that was huge."
Junior Marie Georgoulis did her usual stellar job setting the Bison offense, handed out 24 assists along 2 aces.
Gabri Olhava's 9 kills (19-0f-21) led Hersey while Katie Rozanski chipped in 6 and Stedman handed out 11 assists. Pisano had 9 and Caity Strozewski 5.
Liz Fuerst had 11 digs and was 9-of-9 serving with an ace.
"We have such a young team," Lill said. "We'll be back."
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