Girls Volleyball: Marist outlasts Nazareth
By Phil Brozynski For Sun-Times Media September 26, 2013 9:50PM
Updated: October 28, 2013 7:38AM
After losing three times last week, including a blowout loss to rival Mother McAuley, Marist had been talking about taking advantage of momentum swings.
When opportunity knocked Thursday at Nazareth, the RedHawks answered.
A net call against the hosts wiped out a block which would have pulled the Roadrunners to within 12-10 in the pivotal third set and ignited a 10-2 run by Marist, which went on to defeat Nazareth 25-18, 21-25, 25-15.
“Anyone who coaches or watches or plays knows there could be a huge momentum swing at any moment,” Marist coach Julie Popp-Hopkins said. “We’ve been practicing now for the last three weeks talking about how you capitalize on it, how when you get that momentum you have to run with it.
“(Assistant coach Jordan Vidovic) and I were extremely happy with the way they did that in the third game,” Popp-Hopkins added. “Coming into this week we wanted to focus first on St. Viator, then Nazareth, now we can look forward to the next three games (Friday in the Rich East Tournament).”
Right-side hitter Lizzie Zaleski led Marist (9-4, 3-0 East Suburban Catholic) with 14 kills and two aces, including seven putaways in Set 3.
“We played our game,” Zaleski said. “I feel like we controlled the tempo. My team gave me confidence, telling me, ‘Kill it. Kill it.’ I think we just relaxed a little at the end of Game 2. It was us. We made too many unforced errors and didn’t put balls away.”
Nazareth (11-2, 0-2) overcame a 20-18 deficit in Set 2 by scoring seven of the last eight points to force the third set. Samantha Brown had a huge second set for the hosts with seven kills, two blocks and an ace.
The Roadrunners fell behind quickly in Set 3, trailing 11-6 before an ace by sophomore Emma Decker and a kill by Kristina Elstner got the hosts to within 12-9. Elstner and Julia Saunders combined on a block that appeared to close the deficit to two points, but Nazareth was called for a net violation.
Zaleski did the rest, contributing four kills in the 10-2 run that all but sealed the match.
“That (call) was the change right there,” Nazareth coach Wayne Saunders said. “We were pumped up, ready to serve. I didn’t agree with the call. I’m not saying it would have changed the outcome, but I think it demoralized us a little bit. But that shouldn’t happen.’
“They are a good team and we did not play our best,” he added. “Samantha hit some big shots. We’re going to live and die for the most part out there, Julia was struggling with her ankle. She did what she could, but it was not one of her better games.”
Brown finished with 19 kills and two blocks for Nazareth, which also got six kills and three aces from Saunders, 21 assists from Decker and four kills from Troi Sharpp.
Marist got 11 kills and two blocks from Colleen Reilly, 24 assists and four kills from Molly Mayo and 23 digs from Carolyn Yerkes.