HUNTLEY – Huntley senior Kylie Jenkins couldn’t stop smiling after watching her teammates perfectly time, jump and block Crystal Lake Central’s last kill attempt to put the last touches on a 25-15, 16-25, 25-15 Fox Valley Conference win Thursday.
“It's the happiest moment," said Jenkins, who had 15 digs, five kills and two aces. "I'm still smiling. This win is huge because we worked so hard for it. We have so much passion on the court.”
With the victory, the Red Raiders (7-0, 6-0) grabbed sole possession of first in the FVC and handed the Tigers (10-1, 5-1) their first loss of the season. After Huntley dropped the second set, it was Jenkins who had five straight service points to help the Raiders take a 5-0 lead in the third.
“In the huddle, we talked about how [Central] wasn’t going to let up," Jenkins said. “We wanted that first ball, that first kill.”
Huntley coach Karen Naymola was impressed by her team’s ability to bounce back so quickly.
“I was impressed with how were able to let Game 2 go and come back as strong as we did in Game 3,” Naymola said. “You could tell they had that 'refuse to lose' attitude. When they get that way, they’re unstoppable.”
For a Tigers team with multiple offensive options to go to, it was Huntley’s block that helped separate the teams in the third. Katelyn Bower had five solo blocks and nine block assists, and Ashley Konecki had two solo blocks and 14 block assists.
Central coach Lisa Brunstrum said her team struggled to keep up with the faster pace of Huntley.
“[Huntley] played very strong, very aggressive,” Brunstrum said. “They did a great job of taking us out of system and we weren’t able to run our attack. They kind of jumped out right away, and we were playing catch up ever since.”
Huntley junior Emma Konie, celebrating her 17th birthday, had a match-leading 16 kills and two aces. Taylor Jakubowski recorded 33 assists and 17 digs, Josie Schmitendorf had 15 digs, and Konecki had 10 kills.
Konecki said the Raiders were trying to speed up the game.
“We wanted to shut down their middles and outsides,” Konecki said. “With a fast offense, we were able to find the holes in the block and make it a faster game. This was probably one of our biggest games.”
Central was led by Madeline Timmerman with 10 kills and three solo blocks. Camryn Hausler had eight kills and 12 digs, Olivia Anderson had four blocks, and Grace Levin had 27 assists and 10 digs. Karina Simatos had 19 digs, Maddy McCormick had 12 digs, and McKenna Timmerman had five kills.
The Raiders face another tough test Tuesday at Prairie Ridge, the defending FVC champion.
"I think this builds our confidence and brings us together," Schmitendorf said. "This definitely makes us stronger and pushes us to do more."
STAR OF THE MATCH
Huntley, jr., OH
Konie had a match-high 16 kills and two aces to celebrate her 17th birthday.
1: Huntley handed Crystal Lake Central its first loss of the season.
AND ANOTHER THING …
“She had a lot of different shots tonight,” Central coach Lisa Brunstrum said of the difficulty of defending Konie. “(Setter) Taylor (Jakubowski) does a real good job of moving her around the court from one side to the other.”