After advancing to the regional championship game last year, the Evanston Township High School girls volleyball team hopes to get there again or even further this season.
Going into the game against Glenbrook South, the Wildkits’ record stood at 18-7 overall, which gave them the second seed in the 18-team Glenbrook South Sectional.
On Oct. 3, the Kits beat Glenbrook South, winning in three sets. After taking the first set, 25-18, the Kits hoped to sweep the match in two sets, but were unable to do so. The Kits fell behind, 9-1, early in the second set. From there, they responded with an 8-4 run to get within four at 13-9, but could not complete the comeback, falling to 16-25.
“We got overconfident in the second set,” said Pam MacPherson head coach. “We always [seem to] play worse in the second game at home by habit after we switch from the east side to the west side [of the court]. We’ve been working on hitting on the other side in practice.”
MacPherson added, “We tried to come back in the second [set] but it was a bit too late.”
In the rubber set, the Kits jumped out to a 10-3 lead and never looked back, taking the set, 25-19.
The Kits were led by Casey Durham, who had 15 kills and four aces. Martha Murray had eight kills; Arianna Salas added 19 assists and three aces. Keagan Joyce chipped in with 10 assists.
“Casey really took control of the third set. Sometimes she gets into a rut, but after her rut, she gets mad and starts hitting hard.”
On Oct. 5 against archrival New Trier, Durham avoided her rut and gave a solid performance, finishing with 17 kills in the two-set loss to the Trevians, 18-25 and 21-25.
“[Durham] went from hitting well to hitting hard,” said MacPherson. “She had one of her best matches.”
“They are a very good team and have good hitters in multiple positions. You have to be ready for their two 6-foot-4 middle hitters,” said the coach, regarding New Trier. “We did not spread it out well and we went the safe route [in hitting it to Durham].”
“At 20-20, we had two service errors and miscommunications between two of our seniors. When you are above 20, you cannot have unforced errors.”
After the New Trier game, the Kits record stood at 19-8 overall and 5-2 in Central Suburban League South Conference play.
The Kits take on Maine South tonight. They will participate in the Maine West Pumpkin Tournament on Oct. 14-15 and finish off the regular season with games against Waukegan on Oct. 17 and Niles West on Oct. 19.
Regarding the Pumpkin Tournament, MacPherson said, “It is always our goal to get to the gold [bracket]. If we do that, then we may face New Trier. That would be good for our team to see them before the playoffs.”
In the Evanston Regional, the second-seeded Kits will open post-season play against the winner of Taft and Amundsen.
“It’d be nice to get to sectionals. We have to work through and not take any games for granted,” said Coach MacPherson. “We have to play with confidence the rest of the way.”
If the Kits are able to gain momentum and play with confidence and maintain focus in the remaining games, there is no telling where they will end up in the post-season.