Girls volleyball: Experienced Barrington takes care of Stevenson
The defending Mid-Suburban League girls volleyball champions didn't want to miss a beat from their 14-2 season just five months ago.
So Barrington made sure it was in fine tune from the start of its fall season opener on Tuesday night at Stevenson, which won the North Suburban Conference tournament in last spring's COVID-19 shortened season.
The Fillies, led by Jessica Horwath (5 kills, 6 digs), Campbell Paris (5 kills), Jenna Meitzler (5 digs, 3 assists, 3 kills) and Amanda Cleary (6 digs), raced ahead 5-0 in Set 1 en route to a 25-14, 25-20 nonconference win.
"I thought we came out with a lot of fire," said Barrington coach Michelle Jakubowski. "Stevenson is a great team. We knew they were going to battle back."
The Patriots were much more competitive in Set 2 and it wasn't until Cleary passed to Meitzler who set Bre Dunn for a kill that the Fillies had capped a 5-0 run to end the match.
"Stevenson is always good, 100 percent of the time," Clearly said. "Amanda Holsen (match-high 11 kills) is incredible and their whole team is super scrappy. Their outsides are big and they swing hard. It's always so exciting to come here. Their fans are awesome and it's a great environment."
The second set was tied at 20-20 when Horwath put down back-to-back kills to ignite the game-ending run.
"Jess did a nice job," Jakubowski said. "She gets a lot of balls whether it is serve receive or hitting. It was Berkeley Ploder's first varsity match and I think she did a really nice job. "
The sophomore's block tied it at 18 before Holsen answered with her 11th kill to give the hosts their penultimate lead.
"That was huge," Jakubowski said of Ploder's block.
Meitzler served the final 5 points, getting an ace and a big block from Dunn to make it 24-20.
"I pushed them a little when Stevenson called time out (at 22-20) and said 'you know we aren't blocking well, so why don't we finish with a block?' and Bre got the job done," Jakubowski said.
Holsen, a Columbia University recruit, got the job done all match for the Patriots.
"We are a young team and it was the first varsity match for a lot of our girls," Holsen said. "To start out against Barrington is really, really tough. They're a really good team. I think we have a high ceiling and as the season progresses we are going to get a lot better. That second set showed what we can do and I'm really looking forward to the rest of the season."
Setting the Pats' offense were Angela Zhou (10 assists) and Abby Minn (7). Brynn Smith added 4 kills and Michelle Gonchar 3. Bayarmaa Bat-erdene had 10 digs.
"Only three players in our rotation of nine have varsity experience," said Patriots coach Tim Crow. "But it was nice to see them settle down and obviously our ball control and serve receive was much better the second set.
"This was a good experience for us, kind of an eye-opener. For us, we assume the sectional is going to run through these guys (Barrington) and a couple of other teams. I think this kind of gives us an idea of where we need to be. We have a high ceiling and hopefully we got the nerves out of the way and we'll be able to turn around and be ready to go on Friday and Saturday (at the Libertyville tournament)."