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Mooseheart sophomore Abi Alade (right) delivers one of 10 kills in the Ramblers' victory over Faith Lutheran.
Mooseheart senior (left) passes the ball while fellow senior Jade Sanni watches during Mooseheart’s Senior Night victory.
Senior Rocio Sanchez moves to keep the ball alive in Mooseheart's two-game victory over Faith Lutheran on the Ramblers' Senior Night.
MOOSEHEART, IL, Oct. 8 – After all the smiles and celebrations associated with Senior Night, Mooseheart's volleyball team set itself a massive hole from which to dig in the first game of Tuesday's match with Faith Lutheran.
In a switch from season-long patterns, the Ramblers proved to be mountain goats when it came to climbing in this match. They turned a 9-0 deficit into a 25-21 victory. Mooseheart (3-9) rolled in the second game for a 25-10 nonconference victory to complete a stunning sweep of the Saints.
"This has kind of been our struggle all year," Mooseheart coach Kristin Shuman said. "We've gotten ourselves into holes and haven't been able to get out. Amazingly enough, tonight, they did get out of it."
The Ramblers' rally in the first game took considerable time to gain traction. After scoring on an Abi Alade kill to cut the margin to 9-1, the deficit continued to remain large. But with the score 19-12, Mooseheart's Madison Hart served and helped bring her team to within 19-17. The next Ramblers' server was Jasmine Martinez, who took her team to a 22-20 advantage.
Hart and Martinez, both juniors, were strong in both games for the Ramblers, both serving and with their floor games.
"Our serves have either been our best asset or our worst asset on any given night," Shuman said. "Tonight, they really came through. (Hart) was really huge. She had a huge run in both games that brought us back and kept us ahead. (Martinez) is one of our most consistent servers and she always has been. When she gets back to that line, I have confidence that she’s not going to mess up for us."
Rocio Sanchez, one of Mooseheart's five seniors, served out the game.
In the second game, Mooseheart's offense took immediate control of the contest - and strong hitting by Abi Alade (10 kills) helped a 9-8 lead surge to a 20-8 margin.
"It all becomes offense and aggression," Shuman said. "If you're aggressive at net and hit consistently, you're going to make them scramble. That's what I've really emphasized lately, is to get up and hit. The harder the ball comes, the harder it is for the other team to pass."
Hart provided the serves in that run long run while Martinez closed the match.
Mooseheart's seniors this year are Sanchez, Jade Sanni, Candace Casey, Jen-ni Serrano and Chrissy Flood. Four of the five played in the varsity contest while Flood, dealing with illness, played in the junior-varsity match.
"This is the night where I really look to my seniors to shine," Shuman said. "The crowd is all here to see them play and they want to see what they've learned the past four years. OK, they didn't all play for four years, but the majority of them did, and they have really come so far."
Mooseheart still has a home match this season - Thursday against Morgan Park Academy. The Ramblers close with difficult road matches before heading to the Northeastern Athletic Conference tournament, which takes place this year at Club Fusion in Marengo on Oct. 26.
"From here on out, they're all going to be tough," Shuman said. "It's going to be a tough road, but at this point, we have some momentum going forward. I can only hope to continue to improve."
Mooseheart 25 25
Faith Luthern 21 10
Alade 10 kills
Hart 5 digs, 3 aces
Sanchez 4 digs