Girls volleyball: Hersey cruises past Prospect
Hersey's girls volleyball team began its quest for an amazing 16 straight Mid-Suburban League East championships with quite an amazing game.
The Huskies needed just five servers in the opening set en route to a 25-5, 25-22 triumph over Prospect in their own Carter Gymnasium on Thursday night.
Senior setter Kaiya Eshoo started the splendid serving run with the match's first 8 points (including an ace) and classmate Kati Kaburov bookended it with the set's final 10 points.
"Those two really keyed the offense with their serving games and their output," said Hersey's Nancy Lill, whose club improved to 7-2 and 1-0, giving the veteran Huskies' coach her 988th career win.
Eshoo also handed out 23 assists along with 2 kills and 2 aces.
"We really just went all out in that first game," Eshoo said. "Our serving was so good and I think that's what won the first set for us."
"Kaiya ran the offense beautifully," Lill said. "She got everyone involved."
Of no surprise to Lill or the Huskies, Prospect got more people involved in the second set and made things vastly more interesting.
The set was tied eight times, the last at 18-18 when the Huskies were gradually able to slip away.
An ace by Maddie Mullen gave Hersey the lead for good at 19-18. Back-to-back blocks by Juliette van den Herik and Kate Lubbe made it 21-18.
Kaburov's blast got Hersey to match point at 24-19.
Two errors by Hersey and an ace by Annie Wiley made it 24-22 before the Boston College recruit Kaburov slammed home the match winner.
"We knew Hersey would come back in Game 2," Eshoo added. "So we just had to go back out there on fire ourselves and not let it get it in our heads that it would be easy."
"I told them after the first game that Prospect was way better than it played," Lill said. "I told them it's going to be a battle in Game 2 and be prepared."
A service point by senior Mia Farraday gave the Knights their first lead of the match at 1-0.
Prospect trailed 16-12 but came back to tie it 16 with 3 service points from Sarah Skaggs, including a block from Wiley.
"In the first game, we just let out nerves get the best of us and we couldn't come back," said Prospect coach Laura Gerber. "We were able to regroup after that set and finally play our game, the way we play normally in practice. So it was really a good second game."
Hersey was led by Kaburov's match-high 10 kills followed by Nora Zielke (6) and van den Herik (4). Teammate Janine Boyan had 2 blocks and a kill while Mullen led the back row with 16 digs.
"Prospect came out and played well in Set 2," Lill added. "They were more in system and their block came alive. They started getting some kills on us. So props to Laura and her team. They fought back and pushed us all the way to the end."
"We'll get things together," Gerber said. "Sometimes you allow your emotions to get the best of you and that's what happened to us tonight. I was just glad that at least in the second set we were able to regroup and play really well."
The Huskies finished with 8 aces, led by Mullen (3), Eshoo (2), Zielke (2) and Kaburov (1).
Hersey had 5 aces in the first set while Prospect (1-4, 0-1) had one, a rocket by senior Grace Cacini.
"That first set was fun," Lill said. "We needed that. We've been working on aggressive serving and targeting different areas of the floor that are vulnerable. The girls listened and executed exactly the way we wanted in Game 1."