VOLLEYBALL: Irish rally for comeback win over Kankakee
KANKAKEE — Three-set games almost have become a normal thing for Bishop McNamara.
Playing in their sixth game since Saturday, fatigue was a nonfactor, as the Irish rallied for their fourth win of the season, matching last season’s win total with a three-set victory against Kankakee 16-25, 25-21 and 25-18.
“It’s been a long week, that’s for sure,” Bishop McNamara coach George Hagemaster said. “Playing those five games on Friday and Saturday wore us out, and we didn’t have practice at all. We were definitely a little rusty and tired, but did enough to win.”
It was evident Bishop McNamara was in for a fight with the Kays.
The Irish suffered through a series of miscues and hitting errors, and Kankakee looked solid as a rock. Kankakee coach Dennis Pommier said the communication was great, and the players were setting to the right players at the right times.
Led by a trio of kills from Makayla Mondy, the Kays took the first set 25-16.
“Honestly, that was the best set we’ve played this season,” Pommier said. “We did a lot of things right even though we missed a couple serves in the first set. However, Bishop McNamara did as well, so it didn’t hurt as much. We put the ball where it needed to go and kept it in play.”
Extinguish the fire
That hot start rolled into the next set as the Kays quickly jumped to an 8-1 lead and showed no signs of slowing down.
Then, they suddenly slowed down, and Bishop McNamara started to get it together.
Trailing 14-10, the Irish took advantage of the Kays’ mishaps and strung together a 7-1 run capped by an ace from Molly Kurtz and a kill by Jocelyn Clodi.
“You could feel the game slipping away from us,” Pommier said. “One of our rules is ‘one and done’ and win the next point. We would give up 3-4 points in a row to our one point, and it’s hard to rebound from that.”
Later tied at 21 after a kill of the Irish’s Midori Dotson, they finished on a 4-0 run with two kills from Kurtz and the dagger kill by Kenna Kleinert for the second-set victory.
“We started very slow, so I just told the girls to calm down,” Hagemaster said. “Once they relaxed, they just started swinging. Our passing and defense was exceptional. To only have three passing errors is pretty unheard of.”
Service errors to center stage in the third set as momentum was extremely tough to come by.
After muddling through error after error, the Irish were able to gain some traction after a kill from Kleinert and an ace from Kurtz pushed the score to 12-7.
Kankakee countered back with an 8-3 spree to tie the game at 15 but couldn’t quite get over the hump.
Trailing 20-18, the Kays gave up a kill to Elle Nugent before Kleinert stepped back to the serving line and promptly unloaded back-to-back aces to put the game on ice.
“Our endurance definitely showed,” Hagmaster said. “We’re used to playing inside a hot gym, and we don’t think anything of it. A little sweat has never hurt anybody.”
Both teams are off until Tuesday. Bishop McNamara hosts Rosary, and Kankakee hosts Rich South.