Girls volleyball: Zagotti leads Fenton to victory
Fenton's roller-coaster regular season is ending on a high note thanks to Noha Zagotti.
The senior setter has embraced an enhanced leadership role, and the Bison have responded.
Zagotti dished 9 assists and had 3 of her team's 11 aces Monday as Fenton knocked off Elmwood Park 25-15, 25-21 in the Bison's final regular-season home game.
"She's amazing," Fenton coach Kelly Torres said. "She just got named captain about midseason and she really started to step and show leadership skills, not only on the court but off the court.
"She's definitely the leader of the team. She's always done it through her play and her effort, but it was always a struggle to get her to kind of get everybody else to rally. But now she's really in that role and it's awesome to watch and see that growth."
Zagotti's more vocal leadership has been key for the Bison (17-16), who got off to a 9-0 start but had lost 10 of their last 12 matches before beating Streamwood on Senior Night last week.
"We started off the season super strong and then we were kind of in a slump," Zagotti said. "For these past two weeks we've been working really hard and we're finally picking it back up.
"Today was a huge win for us because it was our last (regular-season home) game."
After Elmwood Park opened the game with an error, Zagotti served 5 straight points, including 2 aces and 2 other offerings that the Tigers were unable to get over the net.
Senior middle hitter Julianna Krebasch then served 5 more points, including an ace, to give the Bison a 14-3 lead.
"As a setter it's my job to lead the team, so that's what I focus on doing," Zagotti said. "I focus on serving and really getting my serves in because that's important for everyone to do."
Krebasch, who finished with 4 aces and 3 kills, said Zagotti's example is infectious.
"She brings everything," Krebasch said. "She brings excitement.
"Her skill is obviously better than anyone else on the team and you can see it. She always brings more energy to our team."
The Bison also were buoyed by a large crowd for a breast cancer awareness fundraiser. The players wore pink uniforms and seemed energized by their surroundings.
"It really means a lot to us, especially when we see our peers come," Krebasch said. "It means a lot because the school comes together for it."
The Bison needed to come together late in a more lackadaisical second set. Fenton led throughout but the Tigers pulled within a point three times. It was 19-18 when a short serve was dug up by Ximena Boratto and the ball flew over the net for a kill.
Britania Aguilar's emphatic kill later gave Fenton a 22-20 lead before an error made it 22-21. But two Elmwood Park errors followed and Krebasch ended it with an ace.
"Towards the end we started to realize, Oh, shoot, the score is really close," Zagotti said. "So from there everyone picked up the energy, serves were going in, people were actually playing smart and putting the ball down."