SYCAMORE – Sycamore volleyball coach Eric Nore called the Spartans’ three-game victory over Yorkville last Thursday one of the most intense matches he’s coached.
But on Tuesday against Kaneland, Nore didn’t see the same spark out of his team as Sycamore let a six-point lead slip away late in the first game and then couldn’t recover in the second game of a 25-23, 25-14 loss to the Knights.
“We were pretty much in control the entire time and they made a little bit of a push and for whatever reason, unlike we did this past Thursday ... there was something missing tonight,” Nore said.
Sycamore jumped out to an early lead as the Spartans played clean and took advantage of some service and hitting errors from Kaneland.
A kill from Mattie Hayes off the set from Kendra Larson put the Spartans (5-6, 1-2 Northern Illinois Big 12 East) up 15-9, and Mallory Wolf followed with an ace to extend Sycamore’s lead to seven.
“[Nore] would rather have us be aggressive in our serving than miss it in the net,” senior Emily Young said of Sycamore’s serving. “Rather have it float way over to the back wall just so we’re being aggressive.”
Down 19-13, Kaneland rallied to win 12 of the final 16 points and sealed a win in game one off a kill from Ellie Dunn.
“I think we waited to be motivated,” Kaneland coach Kerri McCastland. “I think all aspects of the team game, serves, defense, hitting, I think it all kind of came on.”
Kaneland (8-8, 2-1) continued its stellar play into the second game. The Knights’ defense picked up and Kaneland won five consecutive points to take a 17-8 lead before closing the match out in two games.
Hayes led the Spartans with five kills while Young had four kills and also recorded an ace.
Dunn had six kills and three blocks for the Knights. Riley Hannula also finished with six kills.
The Spartans travel to Morris on Thursday looking to get back to .500 in the conference while Kaneland hosts Rochelle.
“[Kaneland] played extremely well. They had a really rough start then they started getting a few kills and they hung there and they kept fighting,” Nore said. “They pretty much dominated us in the second game.”