Girls Volleyball: New Trier toppled in sectional semifinalsGlenview Tuesday 11.01.11. New Trier's Kathryn Polkoff (right) (13) hits the ball past Loyola's Maddie Hartmann (left) (8) during their sectional volleyball match on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011, at Glenbrook South High School in Glenview. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 8, 2011 7:37PM
It’s not unusual for a strong team to lay an egg in a tournament, but it’s fatal in single-elimination formats.
Unfortunately for New Trier, the Trevians hatched an ugly duckling in their third match of the one-and-done IHSA Class 4A state tourney, falling two steps short of a repeat trip to supersectionals.
In the teams’ first meeting of the 2011 season, No. 4 seed Loyola (24-15) upset top-seeded New Trier (29-8) 25-22, 25-20 in the first sectional semifinal at Glenbrook South on Nov. 1. Tricks trumped treats for both of the taller favorites the night after Halloween. Taking a 15-20 record into the second match, the host Titans ambushed No. 2 Evanston (26-10) en route to the sectional crown.
The Trevians claimed a 5-1 lead in the first game, and then struggled all the way through before forging a too-late, four-point rally in the second. A dominant team that had been playing superbly was way out of sync, and falling further astray. New Trier hit its abyss with six serving errors in the last set to fall behind 24-16.
“We just made too many mistakes,” said New Trier head coach Hannah Hsieh. “Our passing was not strong, and we didn’t make good choices. We had trouble stopping their middles and didn’t penetrate on blocks. I think we got tight, and the few times that’s happened this season, it’s been tough for us to snap out of it.”
Very few. New Trier not only went 10-0 to win the CSL South crown, but lost only one set in conference play. The Trevians earned their first outright title in four years after sharing the 2008 crown with Glenbrook South and finishing behind the Titans the last two seasons. New Trier also won every set while going 5-0 to repeat as champion of its own tourney Sept. 2-3.
The Trevs’ only losses came in tournaments, and they were rightfully encouraged by the last two, coming against highly ranked foes. In a tourney at Lyons, New Trier went toe-to-toe against York in three sets, and the host Lions in a pair, even while missing three players who were taking ACTs.
Exploiting its height, New Trier then rolled through its own regional, annihilating Northside Prep 25-9, 25-15 and No. 8 Niles North 25-11, 25-17.
Despite bringing back only two starters, the Trevians produced a better record than last year’s 27-12 squad.
“I’m very proud of what the team did this year,” said Hsieh, who completed her 16th season at the helm. “We definitely lived up to the talent level that we had. I don’t think the (sectional) loss should take away from how well we played this year.”
Hsieh reluctantly will bid adieu to six seniors, including 6-foot-4 middle hitter Kathryn Polkoff, 6-1 right-side hitter Katie Fauntleroy and libero Allison Van Horn. Co-captains were Polkoff and Van Horn, the team-bonding events planner. Setter Kara Schmidt and defender Kasia Wasewicz were solid contributors. Sasha Dussias, another setter, was the recipient of the CSL’s Sportsmanship Award.
Taylor Tashima, a 5-11 sophomore setter, is already a two-year standout. Junior Brittani Steinberg, a 5-11 outside hitter, was one of the most improved Trevians. They joined Polkoff, Katie Fauntleroy and Van Horn on the all-CSL team.
The sky’s the limit for 6-3 starting sophomore middle Haley Fauntleroy, who led New Trier with six kills and two blocks in the sectional defeat. Tashima added five kills and a pair of blocks.
“Taylor is an extremely versatile player. Brittani became a very strong asset, adding two to three inches to her vertical, which really made a big difference,” Hsieh said. “Haley has a lot of potential. She just needs to harness it. She has such a fast snap on her arm swing.”
New Trier, which appreciated hosting matches at Gates Gymnasium for the first time this season, also has an experienced defensive specialist in sophomore Emmy Friedler. The Trevians have a group of five juniors who will battle for more minutes next year. They range from 5-11 Easton Joyce and Julia Merjan to 5-10 junior Maggie Carragher to 5-9 Savannah Hubly and Cristina Valdes.
“One thing we’ll have next year is players with a lot of playing time — Taylor, with two seasons, Brittani and Haley, with full seasons, and others who got experience,” concluded Hsieh.