Girls volleyball: Palatine second at Prospect tourney
It was quite fitting that a block by Sarah Elischer ended the day for Palatine's girls volleyball team on Saturday.
The 5-foot-10 junior middle blocker was quite successful in that department all day at the annual Sandy Pifer Invite in the Jean Walker Field House at Prospect High School.
Elischer's tenth and final block helped the Pirates rally to a 25-13, 21-25, 15-13 triumph over Maine East and secure a 4-1 record in the six-team event.
McHenry also went 4-1, including a hard-fought 23-25, 27-25,17-16 win over the Pirates which gave the Warriors (6-7) their first title in the Pifer.
Palatine took second followed by Prospect (3-2), South Elgin (3-2), Lake Park (1-4) and Maine East (0-5).
"Sarah Elischer had a great morning," said Pirates coach Dan Gavin. "She played the best volleyball I've seen her play for the first three matches. And that's the kind of the player we envision her being. She is working toward being that kind of player all the time. She was really impressive."
Haley Holz and Emily Campe were impressive on attack for Palatine (11-6), tying for the team lead in kills with 52 apiece.
In the final set against Maine East, Holz stepped to the service line with her team trailing 11-9.
Gavin called off her jump serve and the grounded Holz reeled off 4 straight service points, including an ace for a 13-11 lead.
"I told her to stay down," Gavin said. "Her legs were a little shot and I was envisioning a five or 6-point run with her serving. I didn't want to have her jump serve that long so we kept her down to focus on locating those serves, and she was able to do that."
Maine East tied it 13-13 before a side out kill by Campe and Elischer's block ended the match.
"We wanted to make sure we were timing our blocks," Elischer said.
Campe also had 12 aces, 39 digs and 4 blocks.
"I thought Emily had a real nice day, too," Gavin said. "She was really explosive, especially early in the day. She was locating really well with the ball and terminating plays for us."
Jillian Smith led the back row with 70 digs while sophomore Allison Drake handed out 151 assists from 372 attempts.
"We had four match points (in the second set) against McHenry and weren't able to put the ball away," Gavin said. "That's was a good lesson for a young team that we aren't going to dwell on our mistakes."
Grace Cacini (33 kills), Elizabeth Abraham (30) and Emma Coogan (28) led Prospect (10-9) on attack while teammate Ashley Adams served 8 aces.
Annie Wiley and Sloane Petlak each had a team-high 7 blocks while Sarah Skaggs led with 44 digs and 83 assists.
" I think we played better as a team," said Prospect coach Laura Gerber. "Overall, we had nice all-around play and going 3-2 is pretty good. I thought Grace (Cacini) hit very well and Sloan Petlak blocked very well."
The Knights were without junior libero Mia Farraday for their final two matches. She injured her finger while making an overhand dig in Prospect's third match. "Alexa Petricca stepped up the next two matches and did a real nice job as a sub libero, so I was real happy," Gerber said.