CRYSTAL LAKE – The beginning of any season is often an exercise in consistency, or inconsistency, for that matter. That was especially the case in Prairie Ridge volleyball’s home win over the Jacobs Golden Eagles Tuesday night.
In what was the first Fox Valley Conference match for both teams, the lead changed often in the first game before the Wolves pulled away and won, 25-17, 25-18. Instead of trading single points in the second game, the Golden Eagles and Wolves traded multiple-point scoring runs.
Prairie Ridge (2-0, 1-0 FVC) opened an early 9-2 lead. Then, it expanded to 21-12. Jacobs answered to come within 5 points, 21-16. But the Wolves had the last word.
After such a hot and cold second game, both teams were left with multiple positive and negative takeaways, but both teams agreed on a need for more consistency.
According to Prairie Ridge coach Stefanie Otto, her team has showed the ability to succeed in multiple ways in its first two matches. The challenge now will be to have success in multiple areas at the same time.
“I think our serving was much better than it was last week, so that improved,” Otto said. “Our outside has gotten more involved. On Tuesday, it was more of a middle game. This time, it was more of an outside game. So it’s nice to see that we have more balance.”
The Wolves will have a chance to stay undefeated when they take on Woodstock on Thursday.
“I’m comfortable where we’re at right now,” Otto said.
There was less contentment on the Jacobs side, and momentum-killing errors had much to do with it. For Golden Eagles (1-2, 0-1 FVC) coach Lisa Dwyer and her team, the focus will now be on keeping one or two errors from turning into large multiple-point runs for the opponent, like what happened in the second game.
“Right away, we just kind of dug a hole,” Dwyer said. “We just kept making hitting errors and serving mistakes. If we did get the ball back, we might miss a serve and just kind of kill our own momentum.”
Despite Tuesday’s loss, there were still bright spots, such as Bridget Wallenberger’s seven kills against a tough Prairie Ridge defense. But as far as the errors go, Dwyer still remains confident that practice could make perfect.
“Some of those errors I think we can definitely minimize,” Dwyer said. “That’s just getting in the gym and practicing and working together.”
After a week of practice and a match against Crystal Lake South this Thursday, the Golden Eagles will undergo a good test when they host the 12-team Jacobs Invite on Saturday.
The Game Ball
Slone Salerno, Prarie Ridge Defensive Specialist/Libero
Led Prairie Ridge defensively with a match-leading 14 digs.
4 consecutive games the Wolves have won during their 2-0 start to the season.
The Big Play
The Golden Eagles struggled early in the second game, falling victim to a 9-2 run from which they never recovered.
Prairie Ridge def. Jacobs 25-17, 25-18
Home (PR) Leaders: Kills- Charli Beam 9, Kaitlyn Turskey 5 Digs- Slone Salerno 14, Megan Ozga 9
Visitor (Jacobs) Leaders: Kills- Bridget Wallenberger 7, 3 Players Tied with 2 (Kyla Fitzsimmons, Allie Campbell and Esther Onate) Digs- Monet Charron 6, Kassie Kasper 6