Girls Volleyball: Shepard takes control, beats Illiana Christian
By Tony Baranek firstname.lastname@example.org August 20, 2012 11:22PM
Natalie Carberry, of Shepard, scores on a deflection off Illiana Christian's Sydnee Van Beek. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
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Updated: September 22, 2012 6:20AM
First-match jitters had set in and Shepard was wobbling, down 15-12 in Set 1 of Monday’s nonconference battle against visiting Illiana Christian when back-row balance kicked in.
First, Stephanie Korbakes banged down a long-distance kill. Then, Natalie Carberry went to the service line and rifled back-to-back aces.
“The difference in the match: I didn’t see the timid looks on their faces anymore,” coach Dan Grunauer said after Shepard rallied for the first-set win and went on to capture the match in straight sets 25-19, 25-23.
Carberry (6 kills, 3 aces) and Korbakes (9 kills, 7 digs) were favorite targets for freshman setter Caroline Graham. They wreaked havoc from the right side all match long as the Astros avenged last season’s three-set opening-night loss.
Illiana Christian was led by Jaime Petrarca (3 kills, 2 blocks), Hannah Wegner (7 assists), Taylor Buchmeier (4 digs) and Tina Massey (4 digs).
Carberry, from the back row, was a stabilizer for Shepard and occasionally a terror for Illiana, working the lines with her whip-like lefty serves and spikes.
“I’ve been working all summer and in the club season,” Carberry said. “But it’s not just me. We’ve got a lot of good chemistry on this team. We want to go far this season.”
Shepard was in bend-but-not-break mode against Illiana throughout the match. After Carberry and Korbakes helped erased the 15-12 deficit in Set 1, the Astros never again trailed by more than two.
The biggest sequence in Set 1 was a six-point service run by Sam Newhall that featured two ace serves, a blast through a single block by Korbakes and a kill from the back row by Carberry. It transformed an 18-17 nailbiter into a Shepard romp.
In Set 2 the Astros hurt themselves at times with missed serves and net violations. But they were adept at not allowing Illiana any serious point runs.
And, as in Set 1, they kept their cool when crunch time came.
Down 18-17, Amanda Carberry and Korbakes combined for a block-kill. Newhall followed with a successful tip. Korbakes then ripped a spike through two Illiana blockers.
Korbakes also broke the final tie, at 23-all, with a spike for kill. Natalie Carberry ended the match with another blast off an Illiana block.
“It’s a great feeling, a great way to start the year,” Korbakes said. “It’s going to be an awesome season if we play this way — minus the few errors — every time.”