ROCHELLE — The Lady Hubs varsity volleyball team was unable to contain the LaSalle-Peru Lady Cavaliers during their first encounter earlier this season. And while Tuesday’s score was closer, the Rochelle girls couldn’t solve the Lady Cavs on their home floor, falling 12-25, 15-25 to drop to 7-22-2 on the season.
The Lady Hubs split the first eight points of Tuesday’s match with LaSalle-Peru, but the Lady Cavs rallied off seven consecutive points to take an 11-4 lead and force a timeout by Rochelle head coach John Pfaff. LaSalle-Peru took 14 of the next 22 points to seal the first set and switch sides leading 1-0 over Rochelle.
“I don’t think we were ready for how consistent they were the first time we faced them,” Pfaff said. “We made several errors in that match and I think that got inside our kids’ heads a little bit… We knew what they were bringing this time around, but they just don’t make mistakes.”
The Lady Cavs had no issues in the second set either, as the LaSalle-Peru girls kept Rochelle at bay with strong blocks on the outsides and in the middle. Freshman Clare Green led the Lady Hubs with six assists, while juniors Grace Orlikowski and Emma Mehrings each totaled four kills in the loss.
“This is definitely a huge step up for both Grace and Emma,” Pfaff said. “Grace is used to overpowering kids at the freshman and sophomore levels, but coming up to the varsity level, she’s seeing huge blocks on the outside… She’s been able to dig herself out of holes, and we’ve been encouraging her to try some different shots.”
Senior Alexis Crawford blocked two LaSalle-Peru shots, with junior Abby Tilton and sophomore Katie Van Hise each blocking one shot. Senior Allysa Harding notched a team-high five digs, and Pfaff said he’s been impressed with Harding’s ability to transition from a setter to a hitter.
“She was one of our primary setters, but with lineups changing she’s moved into more of an attacking role,” Pfaff said. “She’s somebody who has done a little bit of everything on that right side, and she came through for us tonight.”
The Lady Hubs will host Sterling on Thursday before playing Geneseo next Tuesday in their final regular season match of the year. Rochelle (No. 9 in the IHSA Class 3A Regional at Sycamore) will then face Wheaton Academy (No. 7) in the quarterfinals to kick off the postseason.