Girls volleyball: Fremd not disappointed in fourth place at state
NORMAL -- There were laughs and smiles and high-fives and screams of delight as the Fremd girls volleyball team left the floor at Redbird Arena Saturday night and headed out the tunnel back to the locker room.
This might have been the happiest a team has been after losing a match at the IHSA state finals.
Fremd pushed Marist, the seventh-ranked team in the country and the back-to-back defending Class 4A state champion, to the limit and nearly pulled off the upset in the third-place game. But the Vikings still had to settle for the fourth-place trophy, getting edged in a three-set match by Marist, 25-23, 22-25, 20-25.
Marist finishes its season at 39-3 while Fremd finishes at 36-6.
"I just think we really played our game and we went out there and were like, 'You know what ... let's just try our hardest,'" said Fremd senior hitter Breslen Reid, who had 7 kills. "We were playing the No. 7 team in the country and we were (five) points away (from winning in set three). That was the best result we could have asked for. We're ready to have fun tonight."
The fun got started on the court. Both teams had to fight and scratch and claw for everything in three sets that were all back-and-forth. And no one was complaining.
"That was just extremely fun. Those (highly competitive) matches are the reason that a lot of us play volleyball," said Fremd sophomore hitter Rylen Reid, the team's leading hitter on the season who put down a match-high 19 kills against Marist.
"You're out there with the people you really love to play with and it's the best feeling."
The Vikings were totally loose long before the match even started. They decided immediately after Friday night's loss to Wheaton Warrenville South in the semifinals not to wallow in disappointment. Quite the opposite.
"Earlier today we had a practice, just to get a few touches in before our match," said Fremd sophomore setter Rian Baker, who had 26 assists against Marist. "And we really just had a ton of fun. Our coaches were in on it and everyone was screaming and laughing and it was a whole bunch of fun. That was what our goal was today, to have a bunch of fun tonight. I think that's truly what we did and we did it as a family. As a team we worked together really, really well. We did that tonight."
Rylen Reid had a big kill and a service ace to help the Vikings close out a win in the first set. Then Marist had a strong second set behind the attacks of Maddie Arundel and Camryn Hannah, who had 12 and 11 kills respectively.
"We toughed it out, and that's kind of been our M.O. in recent years," Marist coach Jordan Vidovic said. "As competitive as we are, we're a little disappointed (to not win state). But we'll probably learn more as individuals and coaches about ourselves through this than even what we learned over the past couple of seasons (of winning state)."
In the third set, Fremd and Marist were tied at 20-20 when Marist closed out with the next 5 points. That included 2 kills by freshman hitter Kamryn Chaney.
"We had an opportunity and it just slipped a little bit," Fremd coach Curt Pinley said. "Just a couple of things. But when you're playing at such a high level, those two things might be the breaking point.
"But we did a great job tonight. I can't say enough good things about the girls, I can't say enough good things about the program. When you're going up against a powerhouse, you can't hide that. Yesterday, we know we didn't play our best. So to be able to come out and play one of our best matches we've played all year, to feel the support of the fans, it felt very good. And the one thing we can say as a group is that we're leaving on a positive note."