HERSCHER — The Herscher volleyball team continued its dominant start to the season on Monday, making quick work of Central in two sets (25-12, 25-19).
Herscher improved to 11-1 on the season with the win. Now 10 games over .500, the Tigers have only gone three sets one time all season. Central fell to 3-8 with the loss. The Comets have now lost six straight after riding a three-game winning streak earlier in the season.
After a 4-4 tie to start the first set, the Tigers used the hitting of Claudia Huston and Maddy Offerman to extend their lead to 12-4, before taking control of the first game handily. Huston had five kills and one ace in the first set, while the 6’1 Offerman hammered down three kills.
Huston said her teams serving and communication have been the backbone of their success so far this season.
“Our serving has been a big key for us this season,” Huston said. “Along with playing with a group of girls that all get along like our ten seniors have been playing together forever. We have fun, support each other, and stay away from the drama.”
In the second set, Central made an early push behind the hitting of senior middle hitter Emily Gresens, keeping pace with the Tigers throughout the game’s first dozen points. Central coach Amber Boudreau said her team showed up to the second set after lacking energy in the first.
“We showed up to play in the second game,” Boudreau said. “That was the difference between game one and game two.
“I put some people in some new spots that hadn’t played there before,” she added. “And I think they stepped up and played well. But the big thing we need is better intensity from the start.”
Junior Olivia Mendell stepped up for the Tigers down the stretch, rallying off back-to-back-to-back kills to give Herscher the momentum back. Mendell also had a game-winning point on a kill. Tigers coach Joel Huizenga said he’s been trying to find ways to utilize Mendell as more than just a setter.
“I asked her to play all-around tonight,” Huizenga said. “She rolled with the punches, and was very effective for us down the stretch with her front-row play tonight.”
Mendell said there is no magic recipe for the Tigers success this season, only hard work.
“We all work really hard in practice,” Mendell said. “We all enjoy playing the game together and being around each other. And all that hard work is paying off.”
More than volleyball
Monday was Herscher’s annual Go Gold Night, a fundraiser to raise money for cancer.
“We had a big crowd tonight and great participation in this years event,” Huizenga said. “Almost every grade in our high school has had someone battle cancer. It has an effect on all of us, so it’s important we do our part and try to raise some money to send away. And our community steps up to the plate every time.”
Huston led the Tigers with nine kills while adding six digs and two aces. Jordan Pierce had a team-high ten assists to go along with three digs and two aces. Mendell had six digs, six assists, and four kills.
The Tigers travel to Streator tomorrow at 6 p.m. The Comets are back in action on Thursday at home against Dwight at 6:30 p.m.