Girls volleyball: Dig it -- Batavia dispatches Wheaton North

  • Wheaton North's Grace Gannon, right, sets the ball for teammate Bridget Rodgers (12) under the watchful eye of Batavia's Allison Marquardt during Monday's girls volleyball match in Batavia.

      Wheaton North's Grace Gannon, right, sets the ball for teammate Bridget Rodgers (12) under the watchful eye of Batavia's Allison Marquardt during Monday's girls volleyball match in Batavia. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Batavia's Cassidy Carby (14) hits the ball past Wheaton North's Caitlin Johnson (13) and Allie Whitmer (15) during Monday's girls volleyball match in Batavia.

      Batavia's Cassidy Carby (14) hits the ball past Wheaton North's Caitlin Johnson (13) and Allie Whitmer (15) during Monday's girls volleyball match in Batavia. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Batavia's Taily Kledzik eyes a Wheaton North serve during Monday's girls volleyball match in Batavia.

      Batavia's Taily Kledzik eyes a Wheaton North serve during Monday's girls volleyball match in Batavia. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Wheaton North's Bridget Rodgers (12) places the ball past Batavia's Allison Northrop (7) and Kyra Taylor (11) during Monday's girls volleyball match in Batavia.

      Wheaton North's Bridget Rodgers (12) places the ball past Batavia's Allison Northrop (7) and Kyra Taylor (11) during Monday's girls volleyball match in Batavia. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Wheaton North's Lindsey Zych (6) just clears the ball over Batavia's Allison Northrop (7) during Monday's girls volleyball match in Batavia.

      Wheaton North's Lindsey Zych (6) just clears the ball over Batavia's Allison Northrop (7) during Monday's girls volleyball match in Batavia. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Batavia's Zoe Kramer (18) celebrates a point with teammates during Monday's home volleyball match against Wheaton North.

      Batavia's Zoe Kramer (18) celebrates a point with teammates during Monday's home volleyball match against Wheaton North. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Wheaton North's Brooke Leonard (10) goes up against Batavia's Kyra Taylor (11) during Monday's girls volleyball match in Batavia.

      Wheaton North's Brooke Leonard (10) goes up against Batavia's Kyra Taylor (11) during Monday's girls volleyball match in Batavia. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
By Chris Walker
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 4/5/2021 9:29 PM

Taily Kledzik doesn't dig that two of the things she digs most are ending at around the same time, but she was digging how her Batavia girls volleyball team played on Monday night.

The Bulldogs made quick work of visiting Wheaton North in DuKane Conference action, topping the Falcons 25-15, 25-12.

 

"I think we started with a really good energy and were able to build off of that and carry it through to the second set," Kledzik said. "It was just a good fight tonight. Wheaton North was fighting back as hard as we were. We found some good spots on the court and so did they. It was a fun game to play."

Kledzik also dug her dig work, collecting 10 of them to pace the Bulldogs as the libero had a busy Monday with softball tryouts earlier in the day.

"It's hard to wrap my head around how everything I've been dreading ending is all ending at the same time," she said. "My volleyball and softball seasons, and high school in general. But I'm really glad because I feel like all the girls have made the most out of our COVID year. We've gotten a lot more than I thought we could out of the COVID season so it's bittersweet."

Amanda Otten led the Bulldogs with 9 assists, Kyra Taylor had 3 aces, 8 kills and 6 digs and Ali Northrop and Zoe Kramer each chipped in with 4 kills apiece.

Batavia (3-4, 3-4) never allowed Wheaton North (0-8, 0-7) to go on any big runs while putting the Falcons in an early hole that they couldn't dig out of with 6-1 and 5-1 deficits in the respective two sets.

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"We've been having lots of ups and downs," Falcons coach Carole Kristensen said. "We were playing well last week and pulling it together and now we've got some players out and had a couple kids playing today who hadn't played in a week, which makes a big difference."

It hasn't been an ideal past few weeks as victory No. 1 has remained elusive, but the Falcons are finding success as they define it.

"Our servicing was iffy and when we got a pass, our hitting was iffy," Falcons junior libero Ella Brend said. "We weren't really coming together as a team, but with two more games this week, hopefully we can pull it together and get a win. But if we don't, that's OK as long as we're having fun and a lot of energy. Then, we'll be happy with it."

The Bulldogs are having a blast whenever they're in the gym, knowing that the usual off the court stuff has been shutdown due to the pandemic.

"We have a lot of chemistry on and off the court which really helps, especially since we can't really do any team bonding," Northrop said. "We've really tried to make all of our practices fun."

Kramer, who will continue her playing career at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, praised her team's effort on and off the court.

"We've taken every minute possible to get in the gym to get as many touches to get better," she said. "We've tried to make it the best we could and I think we've done a good job of that while staying safe as well."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

In her 20th and final season as head coach at Wheaton North, Kristensen is still hungry to see her kids achieve.

"After everything they've gone through, I want them to have fun," she said. "I want them to learn life lessons and to never give up on themselves or their teammates."

Everyone can dig that.

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