Girls volleyball: Palatine slams Conant in MSL West battle
Hoping to make a run at the Mid-Suburban League West title, Palatine's girls volleyball team needed a win against Conant on Thursday night in Hoffman Estates.
The Pirates not only got it, they did it in a fashion extremely rewarding in the eyes of coach Dan Gavin.
Senior Emily Campe put down a match-high 8 kills, followed by Sydney Wiebe (6), Karina Szafraniec (5) Sarah Elischer (4) and Jillian Smith (2) as Palatine took a 25-16, 25-20 triumph over the Cougars.
"There was some good balance tonight," said Gavin, whose club (9-7, 4-1) remained just one match behind division leader Fremd (17-2, 5-0).
"Everyone was getting into the action. There was a lot of commitment to what we're trying to do, a lot of commitment to system and a lot of unselfishness which I love."
Palatine setter Allison Drake had to love the results she was getting from all her attackers as the junior finished with 23 assists.
Drake lifted a beautiful back set to the 6-foot-3 Campe, who then finessed a nifty tip kill to give Palatine a 23-16 lead in Set 1.
An ace by Wiebe and block by Elischer put Set 1 into the books.
"Out effort was really, really good and we kept our enthusiasm up the entire match," Campe said. "That really helped us get the win. When they made a run at us we came back with some runs of our own so that really helped."
One of those runs by the Cougars came in Set 2 when freshman Gianna Spetka served 4 straight points to give the hosts a 7-3 lead.
The Pirates got back to within 11-10 on a kill by Wiebe and an ace from Drake.
The set was tied at 14 and 15 when Campe's side out kill gave the Pirates the lead for good at 16-15.
The Virginia Tech recruit then stepped to the service line and recorded five straight points, including 2 aces.
Campe also made her presence felt on defense with 8 digs while Smith added six and senior Delaney Dolen had five.
"I thought Delaney did a really good job," Campe added. "Her relentless pursuit on defense was really good."
Leading the Cougars (11-12, 3-2) were Yuri Hara (4 kills, 6 digs), Payton Litney (13 assists), Natalie Jurgenson (3 kills, 9 digs) and Spetka (4 assists, 3 digs).
"That was a good team on the other side of net," said Gavin of coach Drewann Pancratz' club "They're well-coached, play hard and have a lot of nice skilled positions.
"I really liked our resiliency tonight. We responded every time they challenged us."
Pancratz felt her team played better in the second set but overall she said it wasn't the Cougars' best effort.
"We just didn't come out ready to play," she said. "Gavin does a nice job. His teams are always up there and they serve tough."
Campe served 3 aces followed by Drake (2) and Szafraniec with one.
"It comes down to serve and serve receive," Pancratz said. "And their girls did a nice job serving tough at us. We didn't play our best and we've just got to prepare for the next one."