Girls volleyball: Fremd's win over Palatine has a greater meaning
Thursday's 25-14, 25-20 triumph for Fremd's girls volleyball team put the Vikings in the driver's seat for the Mid-Suburban West championship.
But it was championing the cause to support ALS that was more on the minds of the Vikings and host Palatine on this night.
Both teams wore T-shirts that read 'Spike Out ALS' and a big raffle was held to bring in money to help increase awareness and fund research for the disease that has affected the family of assistant coaches on each team.
"We knew we had to come here and do a good job against Palatine but far and away the most important thing that happened here tonight was the battle against ALS," said Fremd coach Curt Pinley. "It's touched the lives of Joyce (Richardson, Palatine assistant) and Mark (O'Kelly, Fremd assistant) and we're all such good friends with one another."
Pirates coach Dan Gavin echoed Pinley's thoughts.
"We talk a lot in our program about perspective and although we are disappointed with the match result, this is still a win overall," Gavin said. "If you look at the number of people in the gym, the money we raised and how the community supported us, it's pretty special."
In winning its 19th straight match, Fremd pretty much went wire-to-wire in both sets.
The Vikings (19-2, 7-0) were led on attack by sophomore Rylen Reid, who had a match-high 12 kills, while her senior sister Breslin had a pair of kills to go along with 7 digs and 1 block.
"This was for a special match," said Breslin Reid. "We know coach Kelly's family was really affected by it so much and we all love him. It's really great to come out every year and play for this cause."
In addition to collecting 12 assists, sophomore Rian Baker also put down 3 kills for Fremd. Lydia Vander Ark added 7 assists while sophomore Izzy Segoviano 8 digs) and Rylen Reid (5) also helped spark the back row.
Junior Allie Belmonte put down a kill and then a tip for the Vikings' final 2 points of the first set. Claudia Wala led Fremd with 4 block kills. Cassie Seaver added 2 key kills.
"It was good that we were able to keep our focus about ourselves because Palatine had a lot of energy and I thought they made a lot of great plays," Pinley said. "I thought they played way better than the first time we met.
"We just had to try and make sure we were able to lock down as much as we could and fight through the tough times they were giving us. We were fortunate to come out with the win.."
Palatine (12-7, 5-2) kept things close in the second set.
After falling behind 13-7 when Rylen Reid put down a kill from the back row, Palatine pulled back to within 15-13 on a service point from Karina Szafraniceic (2 kills).
The visitors went back in front 19-15 on a nifty tip by Rylen Reid but Palatine rallied again to within 19-17 on Sydney's Wiebe's smash to the middle and a service point by Sarah Elischer.
"We'd start to the close the gap and then we'd either shoot ourselves in the foot or Fremd would make a play," Gavin said. "We just couldn't get over the hump."
Emily Campe led the Pirates with 5 kills while Jillian Smith had three. Allison Drake handed out 12 assists with 2 aces.
"I thought our serve receive looked much better after I challenged them toward the middle of the second set," Gavin said. "That allowed us to get back in the game. Fremd is very balanced and puts a lot of pressure on you. They did a nice job.
"When we could get the ball to our hitters that allowed us some success. We just didn't create enough opportunities."