Girls volleyball: Schaumburg notches 5th straight win
After starting out 0-5 this season, the Schaumburg girls volleyball players never stopped believing.
"I tell them all the time the season is a roller coaster, it's ups and downs," said second-year coach Tim Murphy. "I have never had a season where everything is great or where everything is bad. It goes up and down and you have to hold on to the 'ups' as long as you can."
And thanks to the defense getting a lot of 'ups' on Palatine's attack on Tuesday night, the visiting Saxons were able to up their winning streak to five straight with a 21-25, 25-22, 25-23 win in the Mid-Suburban West match.
It put the Saxons at 2-0 in the MSL West and 5-5 overall.
"The entire day I preached about defense," Murphy said. "I told the girls whichever team is more disciplined on defense and plays betters on defense is going to be the team that wins. And I feel like in that third game as we got into the late teens and 20s I thought we were playing better defense than they were."
Leading the way in the back row were senior defensive specialist Bri Dietz (19 digs) and senior setter Michelle Candotti (7 digs), who handed out 13 assists to the attackers led by sophomore Jessie Sariev (5 kills), senior Natalie Asa (4 kills), junior Alex Rojas (2 kills) and senior Meghan Luecht (2 kills).
Luecht served for the final 4 points, two coming on kills by Sariev.
"I was super confident and it wasn't just me," Luecht said. "This is the best we've played as a team. We played for each other and we just wanted this match. We were just thinking 'next-ball mentality. If something went bad, we learned from it and didn't let it get to us. We played for each other and we worked together."
The Pirates (5-4, 1-1) worked hard in the first set to take a 13-5 lead.
Schaumburg got back to within 17-13 and 23-21 before the Pirates wrapped it up on a kill from Sydney Wiebe and an error for the 25th point.
With sophomore setter Allison Drake serving, the Pirates built a 15-11 lead in Set 2.
Drake's 6 straight service points included a block by Karina Szafraniec, an ace and one of 6-foot-2 senior Haley Holz' match-high 10 kills.
The Saxons came back to tie the set at 21 and 22 before back-to-back blocks by Ari Doroskin made it 24-22.
Candotti served for the final point to send it to Set 3.
With the scored tied 5-5 in the decisive set, Palatine slipped away to a 9-5 lead behind the serve of Emily Campe.
Schaumburg tied it at 11-11 on a service point by Luecht. The set was tied at 15, 16, 17, 19 and 23 before the visitors put it away on a block from Sariev and an error.
"This was absolutely a big confidence builder for us," Luecht added. "I think it all came together, We had highs and lows but at the end we put it all together."
Rojas led the Saxons with 3 aces. Sariev had 2 while Dietz and Candotti had 1 apiece.
After the final point, Schaumburg players rushed off the bench in celebration.
"It was really fun to see that level of passion, that level of joy on the court and to see that level of exuberance by Schaumburg after the match was over," said Pirates coach Dan Gavin. "We didn't have a cent of it and that's what we are absolutely looking for.
"I thought Emily Campe and Sarah Elischer had some nice moments but if we are relying on individual moments from individual kids, we are going about this all the wrong way.
"This is the ultimate team sport. You've got to trust your teammates. You've got to compete for your teammates. And we didn't do any of that tonight."
The Pirates visit Fremd (10-1, 2-0) on Thursday.
"This is a match we have to learn from," Gavin added. "The beauty of it is that you get to be back on the court in two nights against a great team like Fremd. You win that match and the this night doesn't sting quite as much."