Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Freeman: Memorial aces first Classic 8 test

from today's Waukesha Freeman -

Memorial aces first Classic 8 test
Tired Crusaders roll

CMH 3 
Waukesha North 0 

By Tom Badger
 Freeman Correspondent 

WAUKESHA — The points of no return.

That’s where the Catholic Memorial High School girls volleyball team found itself Tuesday in a Classic 8 Conference opener. Helped along by 27 points off serves visiting Waukesha North couldn’t return, CMH rolled to a 25-12, 25-11, 25-7 victory.

“We’re a pretty good serving team and we put a lot of pressure on them tonight,” said CMH coach Ted Schulte, whose team improved to 7-2 overall. “If you’re not passing well, then you’re just opening up opportunities for us. I think drawing us as the first match was tough for them.”

North first-year coach Jeff Freitag agreed.

“My first thought was, ‘Why do we start with CMH?’” Freitag said. “But in order for us to get better, we have to play better teams. This was a good learning lesson. There were signs. There is hope going forward, but the Classic 8 is daunting.”

North’s highest hope came early in the first set.

Two miscues at the net by Memorial and a service ace by North senior Maren Lichtie gave the Northstars a quick 3-0 lead.

That’s when CMH senior captain Lexie Calloway had seen enough. Calloway’s
 kill off a North defender started a run of eight straight points — seven of which came with Calloway serving. A kill by sophomore Alyssa Miklosy was sandwiched between a pair of misplays off Calloway’s serves for a 4-3 lead. Sophomore Alexis Alden then showcased her skills with three monster kills that put the Crusaders ahead 8-3. 

“She certainly is a budding star,” Schulte said of Alden. “She’s a really driven volleyball player who loves the game. She puts a lot of time and energy into it, and we’re beginning to
 reap the benefits of that. She’s blossoming into a much more complete player, and we’re thrilled with what we see from her.”

The early deficit may have been a result of an extra long — and successful — Labor Day weekend.

“We just weren’t as energetic as we normally are and that’s on us,” Calloway said. “We are probably a bit tired (from winning The Joust on Saturday), but we were able to turn it around. It was a slower game that we are used to, but the bench got loud and it turned out to be an exciting night.”

A block by North junior Savannah Brauer pulled North back to 8-6 before two blocks by
 sophomore Ivey Whalen helped CMH open up 13-7 lead.

A quick tap at the net by CMH sophomore Kathryn Christian ended the first game 25-12.

North failed to return a CMH serve eight times in the second set. After starting a 5-0 run, CMH pulled out to a 10-4 lead that forced Freitag to call a timeout.

“Unforced errors are what killed us,” Freitag said. “CMH is a better team, I’ll admit that. When you have unforced errors against a team like this, your problems just multiply.”

They multiplied fast, as Memorial increased the lead to 19-10 and 25-11 at the end. North did show signs of resiliency, grit and determination in the second

“As I’ve told the girls, too much of a roller coaster isn’t good,” Freitag said. “We need to ride the kiddie coaster so it’s not up and down all the time, and stay in the middle.”

In the third set, 13 unforced errors led to a 25-7 CMH advantage.

“I’ve gotten in the habit of asking the team ‘What’s the next team that can beat us?’” Schulte said. “The truth is that the next team that can beat us is ourselves. If we take care of business, then it will be difficult to be beat. If we don’t, then we’re beatable. This was a match where we just had to be sure that we took care of business on a consistent basis.”

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