Girls volleyball: Burlington Central's up-and-down season continues with loss to Crystal Lake Central

  • Burlington Central's Brooke Hoffman, center, hits the ball as Crystal Lake Central's Anna Starr, left, and Vivian Akalaonu, right, block in girls volleyball Tuesday night in Crystal Lake.

    Burlington Central's Brooke Hoffman, center, hits the ball as Crystal Lake Central's Anna Starr, left, and Vivian Akalaonu, right, block in girls volleyball Tuesday night in Crystal Lake. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Crystal Lake Central's Mia Ginter passes the ball against Burlington Central in girls volleyball Tuesday night in Crystal Lake.

    Crystal Lake Central's Mia Ginter passes the ball against Burlington Central in girls volleyball Tuesday night in Crystal Lake. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Burlington Central's Brooke Hoffman, left, completes a hit as Crystal Lake Central's Gabbie Anderson, center, and Vivian Akalaonu block in girls volleyball Tuesday night in Crystal Lake.

    Burlington Central's Brooke Hoffman, left, completes a hit as Crystal Lake Central's Gabbie Anderson, center, and Vivian Akalaonu block in girls volleyball Tuesday night in Crystal Lake. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Burlington Central's Peyton Strout celebrates a point against Crystal Lake Central in girls volleyball Tuesday night in Crystal Lake.

    Burlington Central's Peyton Strout celebrates a point against Crystal Lake Central in girls volleyball Tuesday night in Crystal Lake. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Crystal Lake Central's Gabbie Anderson sets the ball against Burlington Central in girls volleyball Tuesday night in Crystal Lake.

    Crystal Lake Central's Gabbie Anderson sets the ball against Burlington Central in girls volleyball Tuesday night in Crystal Lake. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Burlington Central's Brooke Hoffman passes the ball against Crystal Lake Central in girls volleyball Tuesday night in Crystal Lake.

    Burlington Central's Brooke Hoffman passes the ball against Crystal Lake Central in girls volleyball Tuesday night in Crystal Lake. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Burlington Central's Ashley Arceo, center, prepares to hit the ball against Crystal Lake Central in girls volleyball Tuesday night in Crystal Lake.

    Burlington Central's Ashley Arceo, center, prepares to hit the ball against Crystal Lake Central in girls volleyball Tuesday night in Crystal Lake. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Burlington Central's Leah Freesemann, left, hits against Crystal Lake Central's Mykaela Wallen Tuesday night in Crystal Lake.

    Burlington Central's Leah Freesemann, left, hits against Crystal Lake Central's Mykaela Wallen Tuesday night in Crystal Lake. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Burlington Central's Emily Maramba, left, and Rachel Burton block against Crystal Lake Central in girls volleyball Tuesday night in Crystal Lake.

    Burlington Central's Emily Maramba, left, and Rachel Burton block against Crystal Lake Central in girls volleyball Tuesday night in Crystal Lake. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Crystal Lake Central's Tigers celebrate a point against Burlington Central in girls volleyball Tuesday night in Crystal Lake. Mia Ginter is at left, Vivian Akalaonu is at center and Anna Starr is far right. The Tigers won over the visiting Rockets from Burlington Central.

    Crystal Lake Central's Tigers celebrate a point against Burlington Central in girls volleyball Tuesday night in Crystal Lake. Mia Ginter is at left, Vivian Akalaonu is at center and Anna Starr is far right. The Tigers won over the visiting Rockets from Burlington Central. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Crystal Lake Central's Mia Ginter, right, gets revved up as the Tigers clinch a win over Burlington Central in girls volleyball Tuesday night in Crystal Lake.

    Crystal Lake Central's Mia Ginter, right, gets revved up as the Tigers clinch a win over Burlington Central in girls volleyball Tuesday night in Crystal Lake. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Crystal Lake Central's Siena Smiejek, left, and Mykaela Wallen blocks against Burlington Central in girls volleyball Tuesday night in Crystal Lake.

    Crystal Lake Central's Siena Smiejek, left, and Mykaela Wallen blocks against Burlington Central in girls volleyball Tuesday night in Crystal Lake. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • Crystal Lake Central's Bree Hubacher hits past a pair of  Burlington Central blockers in girls volleyball Tuesday night in Crystal Lake.

    Crystal Lake Central's Bree Hubacher hits past a pair of Burlington Central blockers in girls volleyball Tuesday night in Crystal Lake. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

 
 
Updated 9/13/2022 9:47 PM

Crystal Lake Central might be young, starting four sophomores and a freshman, but the Tigers certainly don't have the look of a team with inexperience.

"This is the type of group that no matter what the score is, they always believe," Tigers coach Amy Johnson said. "They always believe they can come back. They have a one-point-at-a-time mentality. The whole match, they were super solid. It was a total team effort."

 

The Tigers captured the first set on sophomore outside hitter Mykaela Wallen's sixth kill, took quick control of the second and swept Burlington Central, 25-23, 25-15, in their Fox Valley Conference match Tuesday at Crystal Lake Central Fieldhouse.

After letting Burlington Central climb back from a 7-1 deficit in the opening set, Central went down 21-19 but scored the next four points. After the Rockets made a run of their own to tie the set at 23-all, Crystal Lake Central got the next two points, punctuated by the winner from Wallen.

"It's always one point a time for us," said Wallen, who led the Tigers with eight kills. "We didn't worry about making a mistake. It's just trying to move on fast as we can and get the next point. No one was getting down on themselves, it was a very positive energy.

"Even though we were down for a little bit, we kept it very consistent."

Bree Hubacher (seven kills), one of only two seniors on Central, felt the Tigers started to get going with better communication.

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"We built up our communication and we just started clicking," Hubacher said. "Everyone started to connect, and I think our defense was really strong. I never feel that we're ever down to where we can't get back. We can always come back and win."

After taking the first set, Crystal Lake Central wasted little time in the second, jumping ahead of the Rockets, 6-1. Junior middle blocker Vivian Akalaonu recorded two key blocks to get the Tigers rolling. Sophomore Mia Ginter led the defense with nine digs.

Burlington Central climbed to within 10-7 of the Tigers on a kill from Brooke Hoffmann (four kills, four digs), but Crystal Lake Central came right back with an 8-1 run to grab control of the set and match.

The Rockets (7-6, 2-5) were led by sophomore Leah Freesemann with eight kills, two blocks and one ace. Briana Gritzman had nine digs, Ashley Arceo had two kills and six digs, and Rachel Burton added two blocks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Burlington Central coach Julia Smagacz felt Tuesday's match was a snapshot of the Rockets' up-and-down start to the season.

Burlington Central was coming off a fifth-place finish at the Antioch Invitational with a 4-1 record.

"We've been up and down all year," Smagacz said. "The communication was a little slow today. I felt that could have been better. We were a little sloppy, a little slow. [Crystal Lake Central] was playing much cleaner than us, they were playing a little bit gutsier than we were, and that's what it came down to.

"We were up, and I don't know if that felt like enough coming back from the 7-1 deficit [in the first set]. But we just needed a bit more fight, a little more drive."

Hubacher has been thrilled with the Tigers' start to the season. She doesn't think there's a team that can match their energy.

"It's been a lot of fun, especially senior season for me," Hubacher said. "I think we're off to a really good start. I think we're capable of winning every game, I really think we can."

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