Girls volleyball: Conant holds off Schaumburg
Conant senior Natalie Jurgenson was not going to be denied in her team's quest to defeat neighborhood rival Schaumburg Tuesday night in Hoffman Estates.
Jurgenson came up with the winning point as the Cougars beat the Saxons 25-23 in the second Mid-Suburban West girls volleyball match to secure the win.
"I play against and with some of the Schaumburg players in club play," said Jurgenson, who is a senior. " So playing against them and seeing them on the other side of the net hurt a little."
The Cougars (8-7, 2-0) won the first match 25-17 by outscoring Schaumburg (1-8. 0-2) 4-1 down the stretch.
A 6-0 run early in the first game took Conant from trailing 4-3 to an 8-4 lead. The Cougars would use small bursts to keep the lead in tact.
"The 6-0 run was important," said Conant coach Drewann Pancratz. "We were able to jump on them and keep the lead. The second game we came out a little sluggish."
The two teams exchanged the lead six times before Conant used a 7-0 point run to erase a 14-11 deficit.
Schaumburg used a 4-0 run to tie it at 18.
Jessica Sharp's point gave Conant a lead that it would not relinquish. The Cougars finished their 4-0 run to lead 22-18.
The Saxons' 4-2 run pulled them to 24-23 setting up the match point, and Conant called time out.
"Coach said to keep our effort up," said junior Danielle Smith, who had 3 kills. "We couldn't let their energy take over ours. We had to stay focused."
Jurgenson then scored the winning point.
"I take my hat off to Conant," said Schaumburg coach Tim Murphy. "They beat Barrington earlier in the season and their program looks like it's on the rise. They have some excellent players on that team."
The Saxons, who have won just one match this season, played the Cougars tough in both games.
"We had a lot of fight and played some good defense," said Murphy. "I thought we played some aggressive volleyball. When you do that, you make some errors along the way. We'll look at the film and work on those errors in practice."
Senior Alina Peterson had a strong match for Schaumburg with 6 digs, 7 assists and 1 ace.
"She's the heart and soul of our team," said Murphy. "She's our senior captain and is the glue to our team."
Senior Jaclyn Bartholomew had 5 digs and 2 kills. Megan Weber, who served well, had 2 kills.
Jurgensen had 7 kills and 9 digs for Conant. Yuri Hara notched 3 kills and 10 digs. Payton Litney dished out 15 assists.
"Natalie is one of our better outside hitters," said Pancratz. "She came up with some big plays tonight. She's a senior and we have expectations for her. She has an impact on the game. Danielle is a tremendous player for us. She's also a gymnast and she has the ability to get above the net. She just does a great job for us."
What will it take for the Cougars to continue the pace?
"Our alternates really play hard for us," said Jurgenson. "We just to need to keep playing as a team."
"We just need to maintain our energy in the games," said Smith. "Communication is so important. I think we've done that pretty well."