Girls volleyball: Addison Trail stays on the move vs. Hinsdale South
Running a fast, fluid offense is hip. It's fun and exciting for volleyball fans and players.
But that's not why Addison Trail does it -- at least it's not the main reason.
"If you look at our roster, we're a very small team in the height department," Blazers coach Dan Styler said. "We have to constantly be moving things around and use deception to keep teams guessing as part of our offense, and it's a great equalizer if we are able to stay more balanced and move the ball around well against teams that we're outmatched with in size department."
The strategy worked wonders against a taller Hinsdale South, which rosters seven players over 5-foot-10 compared to one for Addison Trail.
No one knows the offense -- both in theory and in practice -- better than the Blazers' 5-foot setter Amy Reyes, who keyed her team's 25-22, 25-19 West Suburban Conference Gold Division win Tuesday night.
"We have to run a fast, fluid offense because if we don't we're just undersized compared to other teams," she said.
Reyes flipped sets all over the court in the victory, and her hitters found ways to finish them, often using tips or off-speed shots to ambush the Hornets defense.
Much to Reyes' delight, three Blazers -- Ally Severino, Jess D'Ambrose and Katrina Bielanski -- had a team-high 6 kills.
"I love controlling the floor. I love being a leader," Reyes said, "and my passers and my hitters make me look like a good setter. It's all them really."
Reyes finished with 21 assists and 7 digs.
"Amy's awesome," Styler said. "I really think she's the best 5-foot setter in the state of Illinois. You aren't going to find a girl her size playing on the varsity level and doing what she does."
Conversely, Hinsdale South could not take advantage of its significant height edge.
While the Blazers defense put up a good fight, the Hornets made plenty of unforced errors. They never could find a rhythm on the offensive end.
Hinsdale South coach Stephanie Brezwyn said her team may have been suffering a hangover effect from a hard-fought senior night match with Joliet Catholic Monday night.
"(The Blazers) are a good team and not to take anything away, but on our side, I feel like we weren't as sharp and focused as we normally are," she said, later adding, "It seems when we are put in back-to-back situations we are struggling a little bit. I don't know if the emotions from the night before are getting to us or we just can't fully focus."
Thursday's match was for second place in the Gold -- with each team sitting at 4-1, and each losing to league champ Downers Grove South.
The first set was tight throughout, with neither team gaining more than a 3-point advantage and most of the game within 1 point.
Midway through, Addison Trail used a 6-2 run to take a 20-18 lead and capitalized on a pair of Hornets' hitting errors to win 25-22.
"When we get into (close games) like that, sometimes we're really good at finishing, sometimes we struggle a bit," Brezwyn said. "Those situations are a bit nerve-racking."
Addison Trail rolled the momentum into the second set, where it jumped out to a 4-1 lead.
The Hornets fought back, but the Blazers began to pull away mid-set with a 15-11 lead.
A consistent and efficient Blazers attack kept their score moving, and Severino tallied three kills in the final four points for her team.
"I think this match came down to which team made fewer errors," Styler said. "We were a little bit cleaner taking care of the ball. I scouted Hinsdale South; I know that this might not have been their best match. … At the end of the day, we just capitalized and took care of the ball better."
Addison Trail finishes its regular season Thursday night with a nonconference match with Glenbard West on senior night. The Blazers have the No. 5 seed in the Class 4A Glenbard West sectional and begin postseason play next Tuesday against Wheaton North in their host regional.
Hinsdale South is done with regular-season play and has a few days before it begins the Class 3A playoffs as the No. 9 seed in the Joliet Catholic sectional. The Hornets open with No. 8 Kankakee in the Kankakee regional.