CRYSTAL LAKE – With a fourth-place finish in the state tournament last fall, Crystal Lake South seem determined to show last season was no fluke. Just ask Marian Central. The Gators overcame some early jitters and defeated the Hurricanes, 25-23, 25-20, in the first match of the season for both teams Monday at Crystal Lake South.
Game 1 featured several unforced errors for both teams and it was quite evident this was the first match of the season. With the score tied at 8, it was time for someone to take over, and that is when South’s Abbey Marchewka stepped up.
The senior dominated the net and had seven of her team-high nine kills in the first game. The Gators (1-0) pulled ahead by as many as six points, but Marian (0-1) always had an answer and closed the gap to one. South won the first game thanks to a spike by Marchewka. The 5-foot-9 senior credited her play in another sport to get over any opening night nerves.
“I get a lot of my confidence from playing soccer,” Marchewka said. “I always have a lot of pressure when I play soccer and get through it, and I try to take that confidence to the volleyball court.”
South showed why it is a dominant team with its showing in Game 2. The Gators put aside any early match rust and looked like a team in midseason form. Senior Carly Nolan had three consecutive aces to put South up 10-4.
Crystal Lake South coach Jorie Fontana was pleased with her team’s effort.
“Definitely a lot of jitters in that first game,” Fontana said. “We have a lot of girls new to varsity, and that showed early on. We started to get in sync and play our way in the second game.”
In a losing effort, Hurricanes coach Laura Watling couldn’t be happier with her team’s effort.
“We are mostly young and gave a great effort against a great team,” Watling said. “We gained a lot of valuable experience tonight and can only go up from here. We definitely rose to the challenge.”