Let the record show, Yorkville traveled to DeKalb and claimed a two-game sweep Thursday in its Northern Illinois Big 12 East opener.
The Foxes’ 14th win in 15 matches was anything but easy, however.
Junior captain Jordan Albarran led the Foxes to the hard-fought 27-25, 25-22 decision with six kills and four blocks but also had six of her attacks go either long or out of bounds.
“We knew it wasn’t gonna be an easy match, knew it was gonna be a real nail-biter,” she said. “It was our first conference match and we had to get it. We had some ups and downs, but we knew we had to push through.”
That’s just what they did in the first game after spotting the Barbs (9-7, 0-2) a 4-0 lead.
Yorkville battled back to tie it 6-all and built a 12-6 lead on the strength of sophomore Emily Gutzwiler’s nine-point service run that included an ace, tip kill from sophomore setter Laiken Miller, blocks from Albarran and Haley Koziol and a booming no-set kill from Albarran on a get-me-over save from a Barbs’ back-row player.
The streaks continued with DeKalb freshman Jessa Henry stepping up with back-to-back blocks for kills to pull her team even at 22-22. The Barbs even went up 25-24 on Kayla Schafer’s kill but the Foxes battled back one last time, tying it on Albarran’s tip kill and then winning it on back-to-back hits into the net.
The second game was also a back-and-forth affair with Yorkville building a six-point lead 16-10 but DeKalb battling back. It was tied at 17, 18, 19, 21 and 22 before Yorkville pulled away thanks to two more Barb mistakes followed by an ace from Olivia Ingraham for the match-winner.
“We got two comfortable in both games but we’re still young,” Yorkville coach Mike Dunn said. “I’m proud of how we came back, not only to finish out the first game but from being down 21-19 in that second one. We’re still mostly sophomores and juniors.
“I don’t think we played our best, but you’ve got to give (DeKalb) credit. They got us out of playing our best. They’re young, too. With an inexperienced team like that you can tell sometimes they lack confidence. But when they play together, they play very well and they’re very tough.”
Katie Nolan added five kills and a pair of blocks for Yorkville, which got 14 assists from Miller and six from Abby Guddendorf, along with seven digs from Ashley Deichmueller.
Schafer led DeKalb with seven kills and two blocks.