ROCHELLE — With her team needing a spark to seal an Interstate 8 Conference win over the Sycamore Spartans, Rochelle sophomore Addie Friestad rose to the occasion, playing with confidence on the outside and delivering several timely kill shots for the Lady Hubs.
A first-year varsity hitter, Friestad finished with seven kills on Tuesday, with many kills coming during the second set when Sycamore had taken slim leads over the Lady Hubs. Leading 21-19 after a Spartan timeout late in the second set, Rochelle rallied behind Friestad, who helped bring the Lady Hubs within one point of victory before senior Alexis Sanford aced to clinch Rochelle’s 25-22 25-19 win over Sycamore. The Lady Hubs are 3-1 over their last four matches.
“We’ve definitely improved in the back row and we’re getting more balls to our setter so we can run more plays,” Friestad said. “I think our hitters have been seeing the court better as well so we can score more points. We were able to figure out where they were serving during their rotations and we were able to adjust. I started noticing a large gap in the middle of their defense and I was able to consistently hit that gap and score points for my team.”
Sycamore held early leads in both sets, but the Spartans were unable to hold back the Lady Hubs, who erased a five-point deficit in the first set with sophomore Anna Harvey on serve and junior Sylvia Hasz, who recorded a double-double with 13 kills and 10 digs, swinging well on the outside. Trailing 18-13, Rochelle evened the match with an 8-3 run before scoring four of the last five points with sophomore Payton Hale serving. Harvey and Hale each had two digs.
With Hasz in the back row and Friestad outside, Rochelle battled back from a 9-7 deficit in the second set, stringing together a 6-1 run to take a three-point lead. The Spartans were undeterred, however, recovering with a run of their own and slipping ahead 16-15. A short 6-3 spurt from the Lady Hubs forced Sycamore to call a timeout, but the Spartans couldn’t recover, as Rochelle (3-5) scored four consecutive points after the stoppage to secure the match victory.
“We had a shaky start to our season, but I think we’re playing a lot better right now,” Friestad said. “I would say the same thing about myself. I was a little nervous about how I would fit on the team when the season started, but we’re doing really well right now.”
Senior Clare Green totaled 22 assists, while seniors Sanford and Ellie Kinn finished with five digs each for the Lady Hubs, who will face Kaneland on the road Thursday, April 8 at 6:30 p.m.
The Lady Hub varsity volleyball team faced Rock Falls on the road Saturday morning, dropping the match 17-25, 18-25 in nonconference play. Green recorded 10 assists and four digs, while Hasz had six kills and three aces. Friestad and senior Bella Lodico each added five kills, with Kinn notching three digs and two aces.