Girls volleyball: Huntley drops 1st set, comes back to beat Burlington Central
After dropping its first set of the season to Burlington Central, Huntley went back to the basics.
"I think that rattled us a little and we tried to get too creative, almost do too much on our side," Red Raiders coach Karen Naymola said. "We kind of went back to the basics and said, 'Just swing away. Play your game, swing high and swing aggressive.' Then I thought we did a much better job of finding our spots and running our offense."
The Raiders jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the third set and coasted from there, beating the Rockets, 25-22, 19-25, 25-13, in their Fox Valley Conference match to stay undefeated.
With the win, Huntley (5-0, 4-0 FVC) remained one of two FVC teams without a conference loss after two weeks of play. Crystal Lake South, which defeated Dundee-Crown, 25-18, 25-21 on Thursday, also is 4-0.
Thursday was the first time the Raiders had to regroup and after losing a set.
"I think the big difference was that we really came together mentally, and everyone played their part," said sophomore outside hitter Lizzy Williams, who had a run of four consecutive points to begin the third set, including two aces. "These games are the toughest to play because they're mentally exhausting. Especially when it comes down to a third set, it comes down to everyone giving it their all and pushing through even if they're tired."
Naymola saw exactly what she wanted from the Raiders in the third.
"We could have come out in Game 3 and been timid or a little scared, but I thought we started confident and played aggressive, which is huge," Naymola said. "To play aggressive and smart in that third game is exactly what they needed to do."
The Raiders had a well-balanced night offensively with five players tallying four or more kills, including junior setter Maggie Duyos, who had four kills to go with 25 assists and 15 digs.
Junior middle blocker Avary DeBlieck had a team-high nine kills and two blocks, Williams and Lauren Bauer had eight kills apiece, and Ally Panzloff had seven. Emily Willis added three kills and two blocks, and Luma Acevedo led the team defensively with 24 digs.
"After that second set, we definitely had some jitters and got a little discouraged," Acevedo said. "But going into that third set, we stayed calm. We kept our heads down, and we wanted it. I think we fought really, really hard for that."
Burlington (3-2, 2-2) had no answers for Huntley's big-time hitters in the final set.
"We knew that this would be one of the toughest, if not the toughest team that we would see in the conference," Rockets coach Sam Mainzer said. "We felt very confident going into it. They're a competitive team and I felt like we did a good job of finding their weaknesses right away, but they put up a good block in the third set and found holes that we had on our side.
"Ultimately, it came down to who wanted it more. We pushed but we did a bit too late. We knew they had some key tall players in the front row that we were going to have to shut down."
Burlington was led by seniors Rylie Hahn with 11 kills and Addison Nava with seven. Rachel Stoneman posted a pair of aces and Brooke Hoffman added four kills.