Wins have been hard to come by for Bartlett’s volleyball team early this season, so it was time Thursday in a home match to forget the finesse and let it rip.
Senior Katie Hrbacek did exactly that, going to the serving line for four aces that helped turn a tight Upstate Eight crossover match with Elgin into a 25-18, 25-13 victory for Bartlett.
“I was just trying to hit it hard, I guess,” Hrbacek said. “I was focusing. I usually try to float-serve it.”
The float serve doesn’t have to be like it sounds — moving slow — but it moves like a knuckle ball. Hrbacek was serving hard floaters.
“Before the game I told them we were going to serve aggressively to win this match,” Bartlett coach Michele Bickus said. “I said that again the first timeout and I said we need someone to step up to the plate and Katie took that role.
“She has a good float. She has a really good short serve. I give her zones, but didn’t give her a short zone today because her float serve was on and I didn’t want to mess with that.”
Elgin (3-5-1) trailed by five in the first set but made a run and got back within 16-15 before Mindy Roberts got the serve back for the Hawks with a kill. Then Hrbacek took over serve and recorded a pair of aces before putting one across that was handled but left Elgin with no chance for a decent set. Bartlett added another point, then Hrbacek also had a kill for a 21-16 lead. Rachel Hartford had two kills and Danielle Santucci an ace of her own in a four-point run after Elgin had pulled within 21-18.
In the second set, Hrbacek had an ace and three kills as the Hawks charged out to a 16-9 lead and never looked back. She added another ace later.
“We had six or seven serving errors,” Elgin coach Scott Stewart said. “Bartlett came to play. They were hungry for the win. We’re playing them Saturday morning at the West Chicago tournament, so I told the girls it’s not the end of the year but we’ve got to have a little better sense of urgency.”
Bartlett had seven kills from Liz Arco, and five by Hartford and Hrbacek. Sjalyn Kennedy added two aces for the Hawks.
“I think we played very well as a team — we didn’t get down like we usually do,” Hrbacek said. “We got back with it and didn’t let it bring us down when they got a couple points in a row.”
Elgin had 13 assists and two digs from setter Tanya Welch, who played for the first time in 10 days after an ankle injury. Taylor Hedl had eight digs and an ace, Mel Berg an ace, two digs and four kills and Abby Pierre-Louis five kills.
“We have a lot of very high moments and then we have a lot of very low moments,” Stewart said. “That’s too much of a roller coaster for us. We need toplay on an even keel.”