Girls volleyball: Stevenson, Libertyville share NSC title after Pats' 3-set win

It was showdown time when host Libertyville met Stevenson Wednesday night with the North Suburban Conference girls volleyball title on the line.

The Wildcats pulled out an exciting 26-24 victory in the first set as an ace by Stella Meyer put the finishing touches on the win. But Stevenson (28-6) closed out the second set with a 10-3 run to force a deciding third set with a 25-20 win.

Libertyville (26-9) could not stop the Patriots' momentum as Stevenson rolled to an easy 25-14 triumph in the final set. The two teams wound up finishing as co-NSC champions with 6-1 records in the league.

After reaching a huge milestone with his 600th career coaching victory Monday against Hersey, Stevenson coach Tim Crow (22nd season) was happy to tie for the NSC crown to go along with win No. 601 on Wednesday.

The third set was all Stevenson from the get-go as 3 service points by Rachel Shin staked the Pats to a commanding 11-3 lead.

Then with the attacking of Mija Jegers (13 kills, 7 digs, 3 aces), Ava Wysocki (13 kills), and Brynn Smith (8 kills), Stevenson was able to hold off a late rally by the Wildcats for its second win over Libertyville this season.

"Ava is the one that really put a bunch of shots down for us in the second and third set and she had some key blocks for us," said Crow. "I'm just thankful to be in the position that I am, in the school that I am, with the kids that I have, and it was a fun night."

Libertyville was led by Hannah Fleming with 13 kills and 6 digs while teammate Jaimie Marquardt had 22 assists and 4 kills. Stevenson's Kyra Costabile had 26 assists while teammate Alice Birtig had 20 digs. Libertyville's Lily Evans, Avery Maddux, and Meyer had 3 kills each. Libertyville's Charlie Fleegle had 12 digs and 3 aces while Stevenson's Cayla Weisner had 5 block assists.

"We're a smaller team than they are and we worked on being aggressive with our serving," said Libertyville coach Greg Loika. "We obviously just ran out of gas in the third set. As we get into the playoffs we have to remain aggressive and stay positive."

Jegers pointed to teamwork as the key to the victory.

"In the first set we were playing rushed and hectic so we all just took a deep breath and knew that we could play together," Jegers said. "We've really come together as a team the last couple of games and whenever we come together as a team that's when we play our best."

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