WHEATON – While the Batavia girls volleyball team moved the ball around well on offense and played good defense, especially in the second game, the Bulldogs did not have enough to keep pace with powerhouse St. Francis, falling Thursday, 25-14, 25-23.
“A lot of our kids have never even seen this gym before,” Bulldogs coach Lori Trippi-Payne said. “And I think we played pretty good tonight. We play a pretty tough schedule every year for a reason. So, we were not intimidated by [St. Francis] at all. We knew what we were in for, though.”
The Bulldogs were close with the Spartans early in the opening game as the teams were tied at 5. However, the Spartans then went on a 5-2 run to stretch out to a 10-7 lead and then padded it to a 15-9 advantage behind the play of sophomore Maddie Haggerty (nine kills).
“We did play a little tentative on the net in Game 1, I thought,” Trippi-Payne said. “I don’t think that was the case in Game 2.”
After falling 25-14 in the opening game, the Bulldogs (10-8), who were led by senior middle hitter Kristen Koncelik with seven kills, jumped out to a 6-3 lead in Game 2 behind the serving of Audrey Faulhaber (17 assists). They would even stretch their lead to 10-6 before the Spartans came back to tie the game at 11-11. The tie was one of 14 ties between the two teams in the second game.
“We did a great job of hanging with St. Francis tonight I thought,” Trippi-Payne said. “This year we scored more points on them than we did last year.”
Coming down the stretch of the second game, neither team would have more than a two-point lead at any one time, but the Spartans scored the final two points to pull away for the win.
“We do have some abilities on this team,” Spartans coach Peg Kopec said. “But I don’t think we played very well tonight. We have a lot of people playing out of their regular positions now and we are still learning. That second game, we did not pass very well.”
Heather Meyer added five kills and a block for the Bulldogs.