Little goes long way as Neuqua Valley slips past Downers South

SHARE Little goes long way as Neuqua Valley slips past Downers South

Sure, size is preferred in volleyball.

Emily Krachenfels and Katie Vondra, though, are proof that you can pack a whole lot of power in shorter packages.

Krachenfels-led Neuqua Valley won a 25-21, 22-25, 25-19 high-flying duel on Monday with Downers Grove South and its dynamo Vondra, with Krachenfels’ kill at match point the clincher.

Krachenfels, all of 5-7, had nine kills, 19 assists and was on serve during a crucial 8-0 Neuqua run during the decisive third game.

“She laughs, but I always refer to her as being feisty,” complimented Neuqua coach Kelly Simon. “She is just a player who goes out and plays with every ounce of her being. She doesn’t look like she’s that little out there. She plays so big and makes so many things happen.”

Krachenfels actually hits for her Sports Performance club team. She hits three of six rotations for Neuqua — and it’s obvious what her first love is.

“It’s fun to be able to get up and put the ball down,” Krachenfels said. “I feel like I can jump really high, which helps.”

Neuqua (6-5), trailing 8-7 in Game 3, got the serve back on Krachenfels’ kill off the block. From there she served seven straight points, two coming on aces for a 15-8 lead.

A Vondra kill drew Downers South within 22-19, but Krachenfels answered with a kill that crawled over the net. After Kaelan Haag fed middle Sarah Daneliak for a quick kill, Krachenfels hit a well-placed ball from the right pin into the heart of the Downers South defense for the winner.

“We all worked together really well and played hard,” Krachenfels said. “Our passes were perfect so we could run our middles more.”

Downers South (5-3) played short-handed — Rachel Schneider, a 6-3 right-side, is out a month with a shoulder injury — but Vondra wouldn’t let the Mustangs go down easy.

A 5-6 senior, Vondra had 15 kills and 24 digs. When she wasn’t blasting a shot from either pin, Vondra was using her vertical leap to drop in tips over a double block. Vondra’s pounder from the left pin gave Downers South game point in the second.

“She’s such a hard worker,” Downers South coach Trisha Kurth said. “She had a little fire in this match, which was good to see. Just drilling balls to the last point. She just gives the other girls so much confidence.”

Haag had seven kills, 15 assists and three blocks for Neuqua. Daneliak had seven kills and Abby Skryd five. The Wildcats controlled Game 1, jumping out to a 12-3 lead, but were in a dogfight the rest of the way.

“We had to make a lot of adjustments,” Simon said. “Downers was very unpredictable with their attacking, especially with all the offspeed. And their defense was amazing. We had some hard balls that any other night would be down and they dug ’em. We served well and we passed well and we called a couple plays that we converted to kills which were momentum-changers.”

Kiera James added six kills, Megan Mayer five and Hannah Wood 15 digs for Downers South.

The Latest
Con la mitad del personal, el Distrito de Parques podrá abrir solo 22 de sus 49 piscinas al aire libre y 15 de sus 28 piscinas interiores.
Todos los niños sufrieron inhalación de humo, según la policía.
Zoo officials responded after a visitor’s video appeared to show a polar bear sleeping in a tiny patch of ice; it was misleading, zoo officials said.
The children who died were 4, 6 and 11. The child’s mother was badly burned and inhaled smoke, likely while trying to find her children in their bedrooms, fire officials say
Moncada, who has played in 29 games, returns from a hamstring strain.