Girls volleyball: Korba, Hersey hold off Wheeling

Updated 3/25/2021 9:25 PM

It's been said top players come through at crunchtime.

That's exactly what Hersey's Allie Korba did on Thursday night at the Carter Gymnasium in Arlington Heights.


With a feisty Wheeling girls volleyball team trying to get to a third set against Mid-Suburban East juggernaut Hersey, the score was tied at 20-20 when Korba hustled under a dig. The 5-foot-8 junior setter pushed it deep to the corner for a kill that gave the host Huskies the lead for good en route to a 25-22, 25-21 conference triumph.

"After the match I said 'Allie, that shot was a difference maker,' " said Hersey coach Nancy Lill, whose team has won 18 straight (one tie with Buffalo Grove) MSL East titles. "That was a critical junction of the game. We were out of system quite a bit with hitters making a lot of errors. It was tough as a setter to find a way to keep the hitters going, but Allie found a way."

Korba's quick set to Lauren Lubbe earned a kill and a 22-20 lead. A double block by Lubbe and Mary McGrath made it 23-20 before Erin Dela Riva's ace got the Huskies to match point. After a side out, Korba set Ellie Muglia for the match winner.

"The first set we missed a few too many serves," said Korba, who had 18 assists, 3 kills and 1 block. "But we came back strong from that and we stayed on our game. I'm really happy with our team this season. I know we lost a lot of seniors but I think we have a really good defensive team and we run a pretty fast offense."

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Muglia led Hersey (4-0) with 7 kills followed by Lubbe (4 kills), Korba (3 kills) and Victoria Babinski (3 kills). Libero Maddie Mullen made 10 digs while Alexa Knutson had 3 blocks and 2 kills.

Before Thursday, Dela Riva (2 kills, 2 assists, 2 digs) had played only a few points in a match against Prospect. Lill inserted the freshman into the game with Wheeling leading 8-6 in the second set.

"Her serves were great," Korba said. "She is a really good player and we are really happy to have her."

"For a freshman to be thrown into the fire in that pressure moment and come up with some strong serves, kills, and digs, she is fearless," said Lill, who also saw basketball standout Mary McGrath collect her first 2 kills of the season, both in the second set.

Wheeling coach Jason Kopkowski applauded the play of his libero Johana Veloso, as did Lill.

"Their libero played outstanding," Lill added.


"I thought Johana had some great defensive plays," Kopkowski said. "And I even said during the match that her instincts are something you can't coach, She had an assist and a kill, which is always fun for a libero. She was outstanding.

I thought Maya Huelsman did a great job, too. She is only a freshman and doing a great job. She has been in a great spot the last couple of days and things are starting to click for her. I think she is getting used to the speed of the game. Everyone played well and those two stood in my mind when we were coming off the court."

Danni Moser led Wheeling (2-4, 1-3) with 3 aces (11-of-12 serving) while Emma Sternquist (20-of-21) and Angelina Semeria (23-of-23, 4 assists) set the offense. Jillian Bouchard put down 3 kills followed by Huelsman (2).

Julia Lindstrom, Destiny Marchetti and Natalia Kozlowski each had one.

"I give Jason props for what he has done with that team," Lill said. "They've come a long way and he has some younger players who have really developed."

"I'm proud of our team," Kopkowski said. "The girls are growing and improving every day. They played tough tonight. Every match we've played we have gotten progressively better and so I couldn't be happier.

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