Strong start sends Craig volleyball past Parker
JANESVILLE Ashley Hartwig was the best player on the court in Thursday night's Janesville Parker vs. Janesville Craig girls volleyball match.
Unfortunately for Hartwig and the Vikings, the Cougars were the best team.
Craig cruised to a win in the first game before rallying for victories in games two and three en route to a 3-0 Big Eight Conference victory. The Cougars won 25-7, 26-24 and 28-26.
On Volley for the Cure Night, in which proceeds benefit breast cancer research, the two city rivals put on an entertaining show. Craig (22-6, 5-2) looked to be on cruise control following an easy win in the first game, but Parker (12-18, 3-5) kept it close by storming back in the second and third games.
The Vikings led 19-10 in game two before Amanda Trapp scored 10 straight points on her serve to give the Cougars a 20-19 lead. The game seesawed back and forth after that until Craig won it 26-24 on a Parker unforced error.
Craig coach Blake Budrow said he tried to tell his team to not take anything for granted despite the lopsided win in game one.
"In between the first and second game, I told the girls that Parker was going to start putting the ball in play and have momentum," Budrow said. "Plus, they were playing in their home gym, so I knew they would make a run and that's what happened.
"But I'm so proud of my kids. Boy, they did not give up and kept battling even though we were down by six or seven."
Game three was similar to game two. Parker got out to an early lead and eventually took a 21-16 lead. Craig's Meghan Hulen got her team quickly back in the game as she served five straight points to give the Cougars a 24-23 lead. Parker tied the match at 24, and the teams traded points until Craig scored on back-to-back plays to finally pull out a 28-26 win.
Parker coach Dave Lehmann said the match was a microcosm of the Vikings' season. The team played well, at times, but had trouble finishing games out.
"When you have two straight two-point losses, that means any one (scoring) point along the line can change the outcome of the game, and that's what happened tonight," Lehmann said. "We played well but just couldn't get over the hump.
"Defensively, Craig kept everything off the floor and that made a huge difference."
Hartwig led all players with 21 kills and added 10 digs, but the Cougars' balanced attack was the difference. Senior setter Katie Villa ran the show for the Cougars, collecting a match-high 36 assists and keeping a number of balls off the floor. Ali Calkins, Regan Sitorius and Aly Raymond had nine kills each for Craig, while Trapp had three aces.
"Ashley's a real good player and when she put those first couple (spikes) down in the second game, you could see her confidence growing," Budrow said. "But I thought our middles did a good job of making her go around us and hit to our diggers."
Craig hosts a six-team invitational Saturday. Parker will also participate in the invite.
CRAIG 3, PARKER 0
Janesville Craig 25 26 28
Janesville Parker 7 24 26
Craig (aces, kills, digs, assists)ŚMeghan Hulen, 0-1-10-0; Salemi Haleigh, 1-0-0-0; Maddie Phillips, 0-0-8-0; Haley Updike, 0-5-8-0; Gabby Loveland, 2-0-0-0; Regan Sitorius, 0-9-2-0; Ali Calkins, 0-9-0-0; Kristi Crandall, 0-0-12-0; Morgan Meinders, 1-0-0-0; Kayle Hackett, 0-0-2-0; Amanda Trapp, 3-0-0-5; Aly Raymond, 0-9-11-0; Mackenzie Bertagnoli, 0-5-0-0; Katie Villa, 0-1-0-36.
Parker (aces, kills, digs, assists)ŚClaire Gorman, 1-6-4-0; Dani Fugate, 0-1-4-0; Karli Doerr, 0-0-5-0; Kyslee Greve, 0-0-9-1; Karmen Bailey, 1-2-2-0; Hannah Flister, 0-0-5-0; Karlee Fowler, 0-2-0-0; Kirstin Dallman, 0-3-0-1; Ashley Hartwig, 2-21-10-1; Claire Fox, 0-2-5-22; Alyssa Krauter, 1-5-1-0; Ally Gorman, 0-5-8-0; Jenna Miller, 0-0-2-3; Jackie Shepler, 0-2-1-6.