Girls volleyball: Crystal Lake South finishes strong, beats Hampshire
Crystal Lake South's slow start in the first set -- and then again in the second -- wasn't ideal, but nothing it couldn't shake off.
The Gators trailed Hampshire by as many as seven points in the first set and didn't take their first lead until 20-19. They again found themselves down, 16-11, in the second set before rallying and taking the lead.
South rode that momentum and finished both sets in style with crisp passing and powerful hitting to knock off the Whip-Purs, 25-21, 25-21, Tuesday in their Fox Valley Conference match.
The Gators, coming off a second-place finish during the spring's FVC Tournament and returning all but one starter, improved to 3-0 overall and 3-0 in the FVC, tied atop the conference standings with Huntley, which defeated Prairie Ridge, 25-16, 28-26, Tuesday night.
"We had a lot of people telling us how good we were going to be, so the pressure is really on," senior middle blocker Megan Langdon said of the Gators' 3-0 record. "It's fun. It's a good start. Now we don't want to lose. We just want to keep winning."
South took two timeouts during Tuesday's match. After each, they took the lead after talking things over.
Senior outside hitter Jessie Proszenyak had a kill out of the first timeout with South losing, 12-5, in the first set. Sophomore Morgan Jones added a kill out of Souths' second timeout with her team down, 10-5, in the second.
Those points proved critical to South feeling good again.
"Coach [Jorie Fontana] always tells us to bring the energy after a timeout," Langdon said. "We always try to win the point out of the timeout, and it's worked so far this year. Hopefully, it keeps working."
South ended the first set on an 7-2 run and took its first lead of the match on back-to-back kills by Langdon and sophomore Gabby Wire. Wire ended the first set with her sixth kill and also had the final kill of the night.
"I really wanted to go 3-0," said Wire, who led the Gators with nine kills and three blocks. "It's a very strong emotional team. Even though the odds were against us at some points and the energy shifted, I feel like we really pulled it together.
"We have so many different ways to get points and to win, so I think we just need to switch it up sometimes."
Proszenyak had seven kills, two blocks and 12 digs for South. Senior Mia Regillio added four kills and Langdon had three. Jones chipped in eight digs and three kills, while Emma Stowasser had 21 assists.
Fontana thinks there is another level of play for her team to reach, but showing resiliency early on is a good sign.
"When it starts going bad, they keep their composure and they don't let it affect them to total devastation," Fontana said. "These girls are great girls. ... They want to work hard for me, and they want to work hard for each other. I think what's nice is they haven't played their best yet. They're having some success, but they realize there are still faults that need to be fixed."
Hampshire (2-2, 1-2) was led by senior middle blocker Jacey Lambert with eight kills and junior middle blocker Gabi Peter with six. Alexis Woltman had two kills and a block, and Ainsley Dowling added two aces.
Hampshire hopes to build off a strong spring, in which the Whips went 8-7 and made a run to the FVC Tournament semifinals, taking fourth with a loss to Jacobs.
"It just came down to our serve receive tonight," Whips coach Will Benenhaley said. "We couldn't find that pass we needed, and our setters just kind of didn't feel confident in what they needed to do. When we did have what we needed, it was a little bit late.
"We've got practice tomorrow, and they're all going to be pushing it. That's what I told them in our huddle. You've got to continue to push."