Girls volleyball: Energized Fremd plays the right tune in win over Palatine
The singer's sterling rendition of the national anthem on Tuesday night really charged up Fremd for its girls volleyball match against crosstown rival Palatine.
That same vocalist will also be performing with his group General Comment Band this weekend in Cary.
Oh, he also happens to be Fremd's girls volleyball coach Curt Pinley.
"That was unbelievable," said Vikings senior outside hitter Cassie Seaver of her coach's voice. "It certainly set the tone for our energy."
Fremd was able to match the Pirates' intensity in Set 1 and at the start of Set 2 before pulling away for a 25-23, 25-14 triumph over the Pirates in the Mid-Suburban West match.
"We always knew he (Pinley) was in a band but I had never heard him sing," said Fremd senior setter Lydia Vander Ark, who had 8 assists. "It really got us excited. It was fun."
Pinley, an art teacher who took the microphone when the audio failed to operate, said it would probably be his one and only time singing before a match.
"I feel like if I had an opportunity I should do it," said the winner of more than 900 matches as the school's boys and girls volleyball coach. "I feel like when you start a match that should happen. I never did it before and I don't plan to do it again. I was fortunate not to make any mistakes."
His Vikes (9-2, 2-0) didn't make too many mistakes, either, as they won for the ninth straight time.
Senior Breslin Reid led the attack with 8 kills followed by her sophomore sister Rylen with 4 and sophomore Claudia Wala with 3.
Sophomore Rian Baker added 10 assists and classmate Izzy Segoviano had 4 digs and 4 aces.
The first set was tied nine times, the last at 23-23 before Rylen Reid and Breslin Reid went back-to-back with kills to end it.
Emily Campe's kill off an Allison Drake set got Palatine (4-5, 1-1) to within 13-12 in Set 2.
But a kill by Allie Belmonte and an ace from Rylen Reid made it 15-12, forcing Pirates coach Dan Gavin to use his first time out in the set.
The Vikings wouldn't let up though, getting 5 straight service points from Segoviano to pull away 21-13.
Moments later, senior Kayla Kraske put down the 24th point and Baker set Breslin Reid for the match winner.
"It was nice to have Breslin, Rylen and Rian all back on the court (from injuries)," Vander Ark said. "I think we had some good chemistry and played well as a team, especially at the end. Palatine played really well and they had some good hits."
Top hitters for the Pirates were Campe (10 kills), Jillian Smith (4), Karina Szafraniec and Sydney Wiebe (2). Drake handed out 16 assists and Smith led with 2 aces.
"To be honest we probably played our best volleyball of the season in the first set with the exception of our serving," Gavin said. "Even in the beginning of the second set we were executing like we wanted and getting some pretty good results. We were just taken to town on serve and serve receive.
"They (Fremd) made some outstanding plays. Their middle back (Breslin Reid) kept a couple of balls off the floor that were unbelievable plays."
Pinley was hardly surprised by the play of Palatine.
"I told the girls when it's Palatine and Fremd you just throw out the records because you know the intensity is always going to be there," Pinley said. "It doesn't matter who has the better record. I thought they did a really nice job coming out with intensity and we kind of held them in check which we did not do Monday night in a first-set loss to Lake Zurich."
But on that night, Pinley did not send the vibes rolling through his team by singing the national anthem.
"Curt did a great job with that," Gavin said. "It's certainly not easy to do in a gym full of people. He's definitely a talented guy."