In recent times, Lincoln-Way North has had Providence’s number in girls volleyball, beating the Celtics twice in summer league and twice more since the start of the 2014 season.
Samantha Ritter threw all sorts of numbers at them in Tuesday’s 25-20, 25-21 victory.
The junior setter/outside hitter led North with 15 assists and six kills, adding six digs on defense. Valen Manns had four kills, Grace Murphy eight digs and Allyson Cappel four kills and five digs as the Phoenix improved to 6-1.
Katie Compagno had six kills, Rachel Alles six assists, Cory Griffith seven digs and Grace Barrett three blocks for Providence (4-3).
Ritter is the primary setter when North is in a 5-1 offense. When it switches to a 6-2, she slides to the right side and hits while teammate Amanda Rockrohr takes over as the table-setter.
“I actually do like that (role),” Ritter said. “It gives me a chance to just calm down and swing, rather than always thinking about setting the ball.
“Also, it spreads out our offense, which I like, because people don’t know where the ball is going. We have great hitters, all of them, who can put the ball down.”
Ritter did damage at the service line as well, scoring the Phoenix’s final three points in Game 1. The four-point run that allowed North to pull away from a 21-20 tug-of-war was book-ended by kills from Erin Dilger.
In Game 2, she had the first and last kill for the Phoenix, who trailed early, opened up a fairly large lead, and turned back a late Providence comeback.
North also beat the Celtics in two games over the weekend at the Plainfield North tournament.
“There was more incentive this time,” Manns said. “This was our home court and our fourth time playing them, so nobody wanted to let up. We wanted to get the job done.
“We were worried that they might have our number, and that they would want it more and come out harder and stronger. So we just kept in the back of our minds that we couldn’t let up, even though we’d beaten them three times.”
Indeed, the Celtics weren’t short on desire, coming back from 21-17 down in Game 1 with a block by Alles, a kill by Emily Baggetto and an ace by Barrett, before Dilger stopped the rally with a quick-set kill for North.
In Game 2 it was 24-17 North when Alles had a block and Baggetto a kill during a four-point comeback run.
The late surges, though, weren’t enough to make up for a whole lot of inconsistency.
“We’ve played our two slowest matches against North,” Providence coach Rachel Ellingson said. “We played some great volleyball over the weekend, passed on a dime, except against Lincoln-Way North. I don’t know what it is.
“They average probably three to four inches over us, but we just didn’t pass (on Tuesday), we couldn’t put the ball away. We had some smart shots and we came on at the end, but we missed quite a few serves and had quite a few unforced errors on our side of the net. We can play, I just don’t know why we decided not to (against North).”