Girls volleyball: Addison Trail shakes off nerves, Proviso West
Sofia Susa had a hunch as to why the Addison Trail girls volleyball team sputtered out of the gates.
Playing in the IHSA regional quarterfinal at Proviso West on Monday, the host Panthers raced out to an early lead on the Blazers.
"I think it's just nerves, the playoff nerves," Susa said. "It's just getting through the first couple of points, I think that was our problem."
But once Addison Trail settled down, it took control of the match, cruising to a 25-13, 25-13 win over Proviso West. The Blazers play fourth-seeded St. Francis on Tuesday at Proviso West.
"I think having this win it gives some more confidence going into the next game," sophomore Amy Reyes said. "But I know we still have to work really hard to get it."
The Pirates capitalized on a pair of Blazers attacking errors to jump out to a 4-1 lead in the first set. But Addison Trail coach Dan Styler didn't think his team was too tense.
"I wouldn't chalk it up as nerves," Syler said. "Our reaction speed was slower than what we expect."
Addison Trail (16-20) eased into the match after Proviso West's opening salvo. The Blazers scored the next 5 points to take a 6-4 lead in the match.
"We just started playing more like a team, instead of individually," Susa said.
It showed on the scoreboard, too.
Proviso West kept the deficit at 4 points after an Addison Trail attacking error made it 14-10.
Then, the Blazers' teamwork really clicked. Addison Trail closed out the set on an 11-3 run, when Reyes and Sam Pociecha assisted on 5 points and the Blazers forced 3 errors.
"I was happy that we were progressing," Reyes said. "I'm glad that we didn't stay rocky, because if we did I think the match would've been a lot tougher, so it's better that we started getting better."
Midway through the second set, Proviso West scored 3 straight points to trim their deficit to 16-12.
"There was a little bit more security (in the second set)," Susa said.
But the Blazers showed their moxie.
Addison Trail closed the match on an 11-1 run to seal their place in the regional semifinal.
"That's normally what you would see like when we're all playing together and have more intensity," Reyes said. "I'm glad that we didn't stay rocky, because if we did I think the match would've been a lot tougher, so it's better that we started getting better."
But the Blazers know they can't afford another shaky start against St. Francis.
"Playing a high-caliber team like St. Francis we can't come off without a lead," Reyes said. "We have to start strong from the beginning and all the way to the end."