Freeport volleyball's streak looks safe
A relieved group of Freeport girls volleyball players began to sing as their bus pulled away from Mars High School on Thursday night.
The Yellowjackets could relax once they knew their section title streak was safe.
Freeport avenged a loss to Section 4-AA leader Mars by defeating the Planets, 3-1. They now sit side by side in first place.
Barring any upsets in the final week of section play, Freeport (11-1, 9-1) will claim a share of its eighth consecutive section title — and its first in Section 4.
Mars (11-3, 9-1) will earn a section title for the eighth time in nine years.
“We're settled in now and starting to do things the way we're used to doing them,” said Freeport coach Tom Phillips, whose team lost, 3-1, to Mars, on Sept. 18. “We were like a runaway train tonight.”
Freeport actually shuffled its rotation the day before the match. Ashley Sample and Alexis Schrecengost switched places so that the latter generally started in the back row and then moved to the net.
The move paid off as both remained productive — Sample had 14 kills, and Schrecengost buried five kills and added two blocks — and the defense extended rallies to dramatic lengths.
Schrecengost tipped a soft shot just over the front row of defenders for the match-winner. She dropped to her knees and pounded the ground as teammates swarmed her.
“That last point, we were up (24-16), but it still was very nerve-wracking,” Schrecengost said. “Before the game, we told ourselves, ‘We're going to win this game.' I told one of our assistant coaches, ‘We're sending these Planets back to the moon.' ”
Mars opened the match with a 25-21 win. It led, 11-10, in the second game when Sample's kill tied the score, and a Zoe Pawlak ace put Freeport ahead.
Freeport did not trail for the rest of Game 2, a 25-22 victory. The Yellowjackets then claimed Game 3, 25-20.
Senior Danika Durand, who had four kills, said Freeport sensed it grabbed the momentum for good after the third game.
“We felt like, ‘We got this. Let's bring it home,' ” she said.
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-543-1303.