Girls Volleyball: Libertyville tops Lakes for North Suburban crown

Story Image Holding up a plaque Libertyville's Kristen Webb and others celebrate their victory after the match. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
Story Image

Updated: October 17, 2012 9:03PM

On a night when Lakes needed to be perfect to win, it was host Libertyville who was near-perfect, good enough to capture the North Suburban Conference championship on Wednesday.

The 25-18, 25-16 result gave the Cats their fourth NSC title in the 13 years of the Championship Match (2012, 2010, 2007, 2003), and extended the Lake Division’s record against the Prairie Division (big schools vs. small schools) to 13-0.

Lakes (19-8) committed 24 errors (hits and serves long, wide, or into the net, or other rule violations leading directly to points) in the match while Libertyville (25-5) committed 14.

With Lakes up 16-14 in the first game, Libertyville scored the next 10 points. The run included a pair of aces from Vicky Liu, kills by Alex Basler and Taylor Zant, and six Lakes errors.

In the second game, Lakes jumped out to an 8-4 lead but Libertyville put together a 17-3 run that buried the Eagles. Long service runs during the stretch included four serves for Kristen Webb, five for Cindy Zhou, and six for Liu.

Zhou, a senior captain and the Wildcats’ star setter, finished with five kills and 13 assists. Senior Julia Smagacz had five kills, Taylor Zant four and Alex Basler three.

“Libertyville was great. They outplayed us,” Lakes coach Molly May said. “We had the lead in both games, but we stopped playing with confidence.

“The nice thing about our team is that we put six girls on the court who can play. We’re not relying on one star player. But when things aren’t going our way, we have to continue to play as a team and rely on each other. The girls know that, but they have to put it into practice.”

On the winning side, Zhou — Libertyville’s senior captain — was elated with the title.

“We’re definitely happy. We knew we had a lot of the physical talent, but over the course of the season, we really developed the mental aspect of our game,” she said. “Once that started to develop. I knew we could do great things, and I hope we’re able to continue.

“Momentum is so important in volleyball,” she added. “Half of the game is execution, but the other half is momentum.”

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