Girls volleyball: Fremd's fast start puts away Schaumburg
Make that a grand, plus 1.
Fremd girls volleyball coach Curt Pinley recorded career win No. 1,001 in the Vikings' 25-22, 25-14 defeat of host Schaumburg on Thursday night.
"I'll guarantee you one thing," said a chuckling Pinley, whose victory total is a combination of his triumphs as head coach of girls and boys programs.
"I will not reach 2,000 wins."
But his squad -- minus several key players, for a variety of reasons -- looked like a million bucks at the outset of the Mid-Suburban West contest, zipping to a 7-0 lead behind the serving of senior defensive specialist Deme Yianas and a pair of kills from freshman outside hitter Megan Spiekermann.
"We talk all the time about serving aggressively," Pinley said. "We don't need to ace them; serve it well enough to either get an easier ball back or keep them out of their system."
The modest Yianas refused to take most of the credit for her effective serves.
"I just listened to (assistant coach Nick) Vassos," said Yianas, who, after her serve at a pivotal juncture in the second set, hit the floor for a dig ahead of a tip by junior outside hitter Sarah Graham (team-high 6 kills).
"He told me where to place the serves, and I just relied on muscle memory."
Fremd (2-1, 2-1) also received strong efforts from junior setter Rian Baker (41-42 setting, 10 assists, 4 blocks) and junior middle Anna Grubb (4 kills). Spiekermann also hammered 4 kills for the victors.
Schaumburg (0-5, 0-4), which often battled with three or four freshmen on the court at the same time, chipped away at Fremd's seemingly comfy advantage in the first set and trailed only 15-13. Fremd went up 21-15, but Pinley took a timeout after the Saxons pared the gap to 22-20.
"We started to dive and fly around," Saxons coach Tim Murphy said. "We're young, and we're getting better every day, playing with purpose. We're hopeful for the future.
"We preach, 'Stay positive,' and, 'Cheer, no matter what.' "
Saxons senior setter/hitter Megan Weber (5 digs) struck a match-high 8 kills, with 2 of them coming in a 3-point stretch in the second set. Her second emphatic point upped Schaumburg's lead to 8-5.
A kill by Saxons junior outside hitter Abbie Greenberg (5 kills) made it 11-11, before Fremd regained control with a 6-0 run. Baker's deft drop then expanded the visitors' lead to 18-12.
Fremd junior defensive specialist Ella French smacked an ace on match point.
"We're missing some key players (because of spring break, mostly), but we pulled together at the end," Yianas said. "What helped was how close our team is, even when our varsity players compete with our JV players."
Senior libero Jocelyn Mercado paced Schaumburg in digs (6), and freshman setter Kaileen Alimorong lofted 14 assists. Freshman outside hitter Gabi Zarate contributed 3 kills, while middle Izzy Mishler -- yet another Saxons freshman -- popped for 2 blocks.