Girls volleyball: Glenbrook South in control against Palatine
Glenbrook South trailed for only 1 point in its entire Class 4A regional girls volleyball opener on Tuesday night in Northbrook and now the Titans will point for Thursday's Glenbrook North championship match against the host and No. 4 seeded Spartans (24-7).
The No. 6 Titans (17-14) steadily built leads in each set and earned a 25-17, 25-16 over No. 12 Palatine.
Ava Pratt (8 kills), Caroline Brooks (6 kills), Caroline Crawford (5) and Lamar University recruit Taylor Knuth (3) led the attack for the girls from Glenview, who raised their record to 17-14.
"Our senior Taylor Knuth (MB-OH) has been playing really well for us lately," said Titans coach Kelly Dorn. "She has kind of taken the team on her back. We have six sophomores on the team now and two seniors and Taylor really feels the urgency and the pressure being a senior."
Glenbrook South kept the pressure on the Pirates, never letting them get on a major run
"Posting the block and giving them the ball back didn't give them an opportunity to get back up on the scoreboard," said Knuth, whose kill gave the Titans a 14-9 advantage in the first set.
Palatine got back to within 16-13 on a block by Mia Hanson.
But the Titans scored 9 of the next 13 points to get the first set, capped off by 2 service points from Pratt.
"I think we had a lot of energy and we were feeding off each other's energy the whole match," said GBS libero Abby Kuliga, who had 7 digs and 3 aces. "There wasn't really stress. We just came into the match with the right mindset of just having fun and playing for each other."
Palatine got ahead 1-0 in the second set on a service point from Erin McGinn. But the Titans got back-to-back aces from Rachel Eshoo to lead 3-1 and they never looked back. Palatine (6-25) got to within 7-6 on a kill by Lyana Rivera but GBS pulled away again to a 14-7 advantage, getting 4 straight service points from Pratt.
An ace by Maya Szafraniec got Palatine to within 20-14. But Pratt's final kill put South ahead 22-16 and then Amanda Souter (3 aces, 5 digs) served out the match, including a pair of aces.
"We won in two sets," Dorn said. "You can always be happy with that. But I don't know if this was the best volleyball we've ever played. But it's also nice for GBN not to see a phenomenal GBS."
Palatine coach Dan Gavin said the match pretty much mirrored the Pirates' season.
"We competed in spurts, and that's kind of been the story of our season," Gavin said. "We gave away a lot of points in spurts, too. It was kind of a roller coaster. And that's kind of been the experience we've had this season.
"We executed some things that we wanted to do very, very well. It was fun to be able to coach like that. In the end, we still gave up a few too many points to a pretty good team, and they took advantage of it."
The Pirates graduate four seniors (Gabby Storelli, Amanda Jones, Meredith Kendall and Emma Kromberg).
"Our seniors are awesome kids and we certainly are going to miss them," Gavin said. "We are also excited about the kids we have back. It's always a tough thing to balance at the end of a season.