Girls volleyball: Huntley overpowers Jacobs
With an early season battle for first place in the Fox Valley Conference looming Thursday against Crystal Lake Central, Huntley made sure not to look ahead when it traveled to Jacobs Tuesday night.
Junior Emma Konie paced a balanced attack with 8 kills as 4-year captain setter Taylor Jakubowski got her entire lineup involved in a 25-14, 25-8 win over a Jacobs team that entered the match with a 7-2 record.
Now Huntley (7-0, 6-0) welcomes Crystal Lake Central in a match that could go a long way toward deciding this year's FVC champ.
"We all have to be on our 'A' game and playing our best," Konie said. "And we have to be talking. If we are quiet it won't help us."
Konie said communication is a big reason for Huntley's fast start this year. Despite replacing a majority of their starting lineup, the Red Raiders haven't missed a beat as veterans like Jakubowski and Konie help the newcomers adjust to bigger roles.
"Our seniors are doing such a good job providing leadership to our younger kids," Huntley coach Karen Naymola said. "This is just a great, close team that play for each other and get along. It's a great team to be a part of."
Jakubowski caught Jacobs off-guard early with a couple setter dumps including one on the first point of the match. She did it again to end a long rally when Jacobs kept alive several would-be kills for a 5-3 lead.
The Red Raiders continued to pull away from there, going up 9-4, 13-6 and 16-8 as Kylie Jenkins (4 kills) and Ashley Konecki (4 kills) joined Konie as threats.
For Jacobs, libero Maddie Breeze turned in one of the highlights of the night with a sprawling dig on what looked like a sure kill. The Golden Eagles (7-3, 3-2) eventually won the point on a Huntley attack error.
But whenever Jacobs got a spark like that, the Red Raiders answered with another hard hit.
"Jacobs was really scrappy today but I feel we work well together and have really good ball control," Konie said. "We were communicating a lot. We've been working on that in practice. I felt that really helped us."
Jenkins ended the opening set with a tip kill, then the Red Raiders quickly raced to a 15-4 lead in the second game thanks to an early 11-0 run.
Katelyn Bower provided another weapon in the middle with Konecki with 3 kills in the second set.
"We are relying on them a ton in the middle," Naymola said. "We try to set them as much as we can and they provide a huge block and are good at mixing their shots up."
Huntley played solid defense with good ball control led by Josie Schmitendorf's 22 digs, and Jakubowski finished with 17 assists.
"I think we are still working on speeding up our offense but Taylor runs our offense," Naymola said. "She does such a great job mixing up our sets. When our ball control is consistent we have a very strong offense that's hard to stop."
Maggie Wallenberger led Jacobs with 4 kills. Ireland Van Stone, one of five sophomores in the starting lineup, added two kills.
"I thought we played better defensively Game 2," Jacobs coach Lisa Dwyer said. "Finally getting our hands on (Jakubowski's tips). They served really tough against us. We have to win some more of those unnatural plays when we are out of system."