The East Gym was packed with energy and “Hey Hey Huntley” cheers on Tuesday night as the 14-11-1 Red Raiders varsity volleyball team took on the number one ranked 15-5-0 Dundee-Crown Chargers. The Raiders managed to come back and win the next two games after a 19-25 loss in the first game.
Not only was this an important conference game, but it was a very important and sentimental game to the five seniors: Sydney Holt, Amanda Schofield, Brea Jereb, Jade Hoffmann, and Erin Erb, since this would be the last time they would play at home.
“Being the last home game for our seniors, emotions were running high,” said coach Karen Naymola. “I told them to leave it all out on the court.”
The Raiders took an early 7-1 lead, causing the Chargers to call their first time out. However, better Charger blocking and communication, as well as capitalizing on Red Raider errors, caused the Chargers to tie the game at 7-7.
“We had a big lead, but after the timeout, we lost it,¨ said freshman Sarah Zayas. ¨We made two mistakes in a row, then three, then four, and we let our mistakes get to us.¨
After a close game with points being earned back and forth, Dundee-Crown ended the first game on top 25-20.
During the second game, the Chargers continued to pose a threat with their strategic placement and cohesive communication. The Raiders adapted, and with the help of Zayas, who had 14 assists, as well as Erb and Holt, who both had six kills, pulled out a 25-19 win.
“The second game win felt absolutely amazing,” said Zayas. ¨We knew we could beat them, and we won for the seniors.”
Huntley had gained full momentum, and they were pumped up and ready to go into the third game. Learning from the previous two games, the Raiders developed a new strategy, one that would hopefully lead to a win.
“They started to cheat out the outsides, so we needed to force our middles,” said Naymola. “I have to credit our middles for stepping up.”
The Red Raiders continued forward and pushed ahead to a 6-0 lead. All six points were served by junior Alyson Dion, who also contributed to the win with six aces and 13 digs. After rallying back and forth, Dundee-Crown called a timeout, but at that point it was too late. The Raiders were already up 23-9.
After a lot of hard work and effort, Huntley won the third game 25-10, and found themselves 15-11-1 and 5-4-0 in conference.
“We need to work even harder to keep the intensity, drive, and focus in our game,” said Zayas. ¨We should work on using our middles because they score every time. Our middles were a key factor to winning this game, and we need to set them up more.¨
Huntley’s next game is on Thursday at Crystal Lake South.