SYCAMORE – DeKalb coach Ben Fisher didn’t think his team came out with enough intensity Thursday.
After getting out to an early five-point lead against Sycamore, Fisher watched the Spartans claw back and nearly top the Barbs in the first game.
But Fisher thought his team played with more intensity in the second game, and the Barbs left Sycamore’s gymnasium with a 25-22, 25-18 victory in the teams’ Volley for the Cure match, which helped raise money for breast cancer research. Each team wore pink uniforms.
“I thought we struggled, for some reason or another, to be motivated tonight,” Fisher said. “That might have had something to do with [the slow start]. There was just a lack of intensity on our side of the court.”
Fisher credited Sycamore (11-9, 2-4 Northern Illinois Big 12 East) for improving since the last time the two teams met – the Barbs (18-3, 6-0 NI Big 12 East) swept the Spartans on Sept. 17 in DeKalb.
“They ran some attacks into the middle, which we didn’t see the last time we played them,” Fisher said. “And they certainly served the ball more aggressively this time. You can tell that Eric (Nore) has been doing a nice job and he’s been training them and teaching them. They’re certainly buying into what he does. He’s a good coach.”
The Barbs did a good job of blocking at the net, something coach Nore wasn’t surprised about considering DeKalb’s size advantage.
“I joked with Ben, he was like, ‘So how are you guys doing?’ I said, ‘Well, I’m not six inches taller,’ “ Nore said. “It’s true, we can’t get over their blocks. We have to run faster, we have to get them so we can get a 1-on-1 matchup.
“We relied a lot on certain individuals, which allowed them to double-block us. Our passing was a lot tighter than it needed to be, and then it was off other times.”
Courtney Wagner had seven kills and three blocks for the Barbs. Alexis Hammond added four kills while Madison Lord finished with 10 assists and Nicole Schladt added 12 digs and three aces.
Mattie Hayes led Sycamore with six kills, three digs and an ace, while Christina Dailey had 11 digs.
With the win, DeKalb not only swept its rival, but started the second half of the conference season on the right track. The Barbs continue NI Big 12 East play Tuesday when they visit Kaneland.
“It feels great. It was the last time we had the opportunity to beat [Sycamore], the seniors, to come out and show what we’ve got,” Wagner said. “They’ve got a great offense and it was a really fun game.”