Girls volleyball: St. Francis refreshes Timothy Christian's memory
Scott Piersma and his Timothy Christian team have not played at St. Francis in some time, but they got a quick lesson Thursday similar to the one most teams experience when taking on the Spartans on their home gym.
With both teams unbeaten in Metro Suburban Conference Blue Division play, it was a key late-season matchup, but St. Francis was sharp again in sweeping the visitors 25-13, 25-14 in Wheaton.
"The last time we played them was like five years ago in the state tournament, and this is the first time I've ever actually been here as a coach," Piersma said after his team dropped to 21-6 overall and 4-1 in the league with the setback.
Spartans junior Darlene Zediker, whose kill gave the hosts 5-1 lead in the opener, said Thursday was one of the team's better all-around efforts this season.
"I feel like today coming in we knew that they were a good team, especially in the pregame … we were really focusing and saying that we have to come out with a lot of energy and focus on every single point and I believe we did that," said Zediker, a middle hitter. "I feel like we focused every single point, which is a huge thing for us. Sometimes we start out the first set a little iffy but not tonight."
The Trojans, on the other hand, helped out the Spartans (19-8, 5-0) too many times. Timothy Christian sent over more free balls -- especially in the first set -- than you can afford to against a powerful attack like St. Francis'. Then in the second set, while things were tighter, the Trojans let some opportunities get away by missing serves in crunchtime.
"That was a big one," Piersma said of the missed serves. "We were down 2-3 points and we missed serves. You also can't be sending them free balls over because they'll take advantage of it every time. They're too good a team to give them those types of opportunities and expect them to mess them up."
Talented outsides Anna Calcagno and Ashley Zulauf make it habit to put down most of their attack opportunities, and Thursday was no different. In the first set Zulauf, Katelyn Hanrahan and Sam Ward each had 3 kills, while Calcagno hit and served well all night long.
"I think tonight was very good for us. It was a good game and we're starting to get to the postseason," Calcagno said. "I think we took some good swings and the passing was good. Everything's starting to click, and we're excited for the postseason."
For the Trojans, sophomore setter Campbell Marshall had 14 assists, many of which went to Heidi Westra, who led the attack with 8 kills while adding 4 digs. The Timothy Christian defense was paced by senior libero Abygale Ahn with 12 digs.