Girls volleyball: Barrington holds off Edwardsville for 3rd place in Class 4A
NORMAL -- Berkely Ploder was not exactly thrilled with her overall play for parts of the Class 4A third-place match at the girls volleyball state finals Saturday night at Illinois State University.
"It wasn't going too well at first," the Barrington sophomore said.
But Ploder had perhaps the defensive play of her athletic career to give the Fillies the epitome of a hard-fought win.
With Edwardsville desperately seeking to extend the third-set overtime thriller, Ploder denied a Tiger kill attempt with a brilliant block.
The ball violently struck the Edwardsville side of the net to give the Fillies a 25-22, 15-25 and 26-24 triumph.
"I started to get mad," Ploder said. "That led to the better blocking."
Jessica Horwath was a dynamo the entire match for Barrington.
A junior outside hitter, Horwath, who led all players with 12 kills, was instrumental in staking the Fillies to a 17-11 third-set lead.
"I knew I was going to be going up against some big blockers," Horwath said. "I was going to have to use the blockers' hands. I noticed that in watching their (semifinal) match against Mother McAuley (on Friday)."
Colette Garrels' service ace had extended the Fillies' lead to the 6-point spread.
But the Tigers came back with abandon, erasing the Fillies' seemingly comfortable spread.
The match was truly in the balance as each team neared the necessary 25-point mark.
There were dramatic kills and apparent match-changing aces along the way.
Edwardsville (33-9) dodged one match point on Sydney Davis' kill.
But the Fillies' Megan Berquist drove home the last of 42 team kills to set the stage for Ploder.
"I think the girls can say it's been an amazing experience," Barrington coach Melissa Jakubowski said. "Four different players had kills to open the first set for Barrington as the Fillies never trailed nor was the opening set ever tied after the team registered the first 6 points.
"They're the second- or third-best team we have played this season," Jakubowksi said of the Tigers.
In what would be a precursor to the decisive third set, Edwardsville rallied from multiple 8-point deficits to make the first set far more uncomfortable than the Fillies' players initially envisioned.
But Horwath dashed the Tigers' comeback bid with an epic kill to close out the first set.
The Edwardsville surge to end the first set certainly had implications, however.
The Barrington notion of a two-set victory was denied as the Tigers scored 16 of the last 22 points in the second set to break free from the final tie at 9-all.
"We just picked everything up," said Edwardsville co-kill leader Gabby Saye. "Nerves got to us in the first set."
Campbell Paris' 10 kills were instrumental to the Fillies' victory; Berquist finished with six winners, and Bre Dunn added five.
Barrington libero Amanda Cleary closed out her career with 5 assists and an equal number of digs.
"This is a very tight-knit group of girls," Cleary said.