Girls volleyball: Huntley evens score with Crystal Lake Central
Revenge week started on the right foot for Huntley's girls volleyball team Tuesday.
That might not exactly be what the Red Raiders are calling it, but the schedule makers have given them a chance to avenge both their Fox Valley Conference losses in the span of three days.
Huntley reversed an earlier 3-set loss to Crystal Lake Central on Tuesday, using aggressive serving and solid play all over the court for a 25-17, 25-18 victory.
"We knew we had to push and beating them in two was one of our goals," said Huntley junior Josie Schmitendorf, who led the strong serving with 4 aces.
Next up for Huntley (24-3, 12-2) is a chance Thursday at Prairie Ridge, who entered the week 13-0 in the FVC. Even with a win the Red Raiders probably won't catch the Wolves for the conference title, but there's still plenty to gain.
"At this point it's more for our confidence and going into the postseason and doing everything we can to prepare for regionals," Huntley coach Karen Naymola said.
"Central is a great team but we've been playing with so much confidence these last couple weeks ever since we did so well in the Asics tournament. Now we know we can compete with those top teams, we just have to stay focused and disciplined and play our game. The girls did a phenomenal job of running our middles and serving aggressive."
Crystal Lake Central (21-4, 10-3) trailed nearly the entire match. A block from Loren Alberts put Huntley ahead to stay at 4-3 in the first set, and the Tigers followed with three quick hitting errors as the lead grew to 7-3.
Schmitendorf broke the game open with her serving. Leading 12-9, Schmitendorf stepped to the line and won one point when the Tigers hit long, then won the next four points with four straight aces all to the same spot in the deep right corner.
Not even a timeout from Tigers coach Lisa Brunstrum in the middle of the run could slow Schmitendorf's momentum. She served two more aces after the timeout.
"I love pressure situations like those," Schmitendorf said. "I always tell my team I like to eat those situations for dinner.
"I serve as aggressive as I can and we knew that going into the game that we had to serve aggressive against Central because we knew their defense is good. We know their serve-receve is good so we had to break apart their offense to get their game apart."
Alberts also served a couple aces. Huntley had 8 as a team to just 3 serving errors.
"First time we played them, Game 1 we served really aggressive and won," Naymola said. "Game 2 we started missing serves and we had to let up and Crystal Lake Central is a team that has a great offense and you can't not serve aggressive and let them run that offense because they are a harder team to keep up with."
Johnson hammered a kill to get Huntley to set point which the Red Raiders won when the Tigers served long.
The second set wasn't much closer. Huntley led from 3-2 on. After Camryn Hausler hit a winner down the line for the Tigers to pull within 15-13, Huntley scored seven straight that included a quick tip from Taylor Jakubowski, an Alberts ace, and a tip kill by Natalie Gaszynski.
Jakubowski finished with 24 assists. Johnson led a balanced attack with 6 kills to go with 10 digs, Marissa Deem had 5 kills, and Sarah Zayas and Schmitendorf led the defense with 13 and 10 digs, respectively.
Madeline Timmerman paced the Tigers with 7 kills.
"Huntley served really tough, really aggressive, we had a hard time staying in system," Brunstrum said. "They were in system most of the night and they are a very hard team to stop when they are in system. They have a lot of offensive weapons.
"We've had some injuries, some illnesses and this is only our second week with this new lineup. Our setters did a nice job mixing up the attack. We played every ball until the whistle blew, continuing to push against a good team like Huntley."