Girls volleyball: Fremd dances past New Trier, will face Barrington in supersectional

By Bill McLean
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 11/3/2021 9:44 PM

They danced.

They jumped.


They danced and jumped some more.

Fremd's girls volleyball players had to do something, anything, to evict the collective tension from their frames before the start of the third set against New Trier in the Class 4A Schaumburg sectional final Wednesday night.

So they held an impromptu dance bash while huddling courtside with their coach, Curt Pinley.

"We were a little too tense," Fremd's splendid senior setter, Rian Baker, admitted. "We heard music near the end (of the break, between sets) and decided to bounce around and have some fun before returning to the court.

"That third set ... it could have been our last set of the season."

It wasn't. Third-seeded Fremd won the first 2 points of the clincher, found a groove after taking a 15-10 lead and then bopped its way to a 25-19, 17-25, 25-18 defeat of top-seeded New Trier.

Fremd (37-2), fourth at the Class 4A state tournament in 2019, will face Barrington in Fremd-Barrington Part III Friday at 7 p.m. at the Lake Zurich supersectional; Barrington's Fillies extended their season with a 25-21, 25-18 win over the host school in the Glenbrook South sectional final Wednesday night in Glenview.

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Fremd and Barrington split their two matches this fall.

Fremd's middle-set setback Wednesday night was the first set it lost since falling in straights to Barrington, way back on Sept. 21.

"We talked at the school, before coming here, that our game is good enough to win this, good enough to beat a strong team like New Trier's," Pinley said. "So our message was, 'Be confident in our game.' Credit New Trier for taking us out of our game in the second set.

"All we needed to do was to find a way to get back to playing our game in the third set."

Fremd senior outside hitter Rylen Reid played at an all-state level from start to finish, recording the first of her match-high 20 kills (39-of-43 hitting) on the second point of the match and securing the program's fourth sectional championship in school history -- and second in three years -- with a kill on match point.

Vikings reserve opposite hitter Victoria Belmonte (8 kills, 1 block kill), just a freshman, showed no signs of rookie jitters on the big stage. New Trier (24-12) had cut Fremd's third-set advantage to 17-12 when Belmonte recorded a block kill.


She hammered a kill on the next point and, 2 points later, struck another kill.

Fremd 21, New Trier 12.

Breathing room.

Plenty of it.

"Huge," Pinley said. "Victoria came up huge for us, late."

Baker lofted 31 assists on 79-of-81 setting and contributed a pair of block kills, none bigger than the dandy denial that upped Fremd's lead to 23-17 in the final set.

Vikings senior outside hitter Samantha Gump (16-of-17 serving) followed that up with her third and final ace.

"Motivating," Belmonte said, referring to the team's huddle dance. "That helped us; that relaxed us. But we didn't lose our focus. We wanted to win the third set, badly. Our whole team meshed, came together well.

"What I like so much about this team is how each player knows her role. And all roles are huge."

Fremd senior middle Claudia Wala was third among Vikes in kills, with 4; senior libero Isabela Segoviano (3 digs, 1 ace) was 29-of-31 in serve-receive and 21-of-22 in passing; senior middle Anna Grubb popped for a team-high 3 block kills; and senior defensive specialist Maeve Miller passed successfully 14 times in 15 attempts and executed an acrobatic dig near a sideline to extend the 21st point (a Fremd point) in the final set.

The Trevians' stellar senior outside hitter, CeCe Burns, had 9 kills. New Trier also received strong efforts from attackers Julia Hall and Ana Vetter, who pounded 2 kills late in the middle set, including one to notch NT's 24th point.

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