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Larson, Sycamore serve strong in win over Rochelle

SYCAMORE – The Sycamore volleyball team aced its way to victory over Rochelle in a two-set match, 25-21, 25-20.

“Our serving was probably the best it’s been all year,” Sycamore coach Jennifer Charles said. “We knew that they were a very good passing team, so the only way we can get them out of their system is to serve aggressive.”

The Spartans opened up both sets with three straight aces by setter Mallory Larson. Larson finished the match with seven aces.

“We’ve usually been taking it to three games,” Larson said. “It was good to actually win a game, put the ball down, and win in two sets.”

In Game 1, the Spartans quickly gave back the three points immediately to fall down, 4-3. Neither team could pull of much of run until the Spartans reeled off four straight points for the biggest lead of the game at 17-13.

The Hubs kept on chipping away, cutting the lead to 22-20.

The Spartans (11-13, 6-3 Interstate 8) closed the door after that. The Spartans scored two consecutive points to end the game. Kylie Feuerbach and Caylee Sharkey formed a wall to get the game-ending block.

“It was really good,” Charles said. “That’s one thing we’ve been working on in practice. That was really big for us.”

Feuerbach led the Spartans with six kills in the match, while adding two blocks.

In Game 2, the Spartans dominated the Hubs from start to finish. After almost giving up the lead again after Larson’s aces, the Spartans went on a 7-2 run to build up an 11-5 lead.

The Hubs (17-14, 4-4) again mounted a comeback, going on a 5-1 run to cut the lead to 18-15.

“We always come out to play,” Rochelle coach Molly Sly said. “They always want to win. They always have the desire to get it, but unfortunately, it just didn’t work out tonight.”

The Spartans’ Hunter Morgan responded with her only two kills of the game to keep Sycamore ahead.

Isabella Jackson put the finishing touches on the win with a big kill to end the game.

By the numbers: For the Spartans, Anna Carpenter had five kills and three blocks.

Beyond the stats: Midway through the second game, Larson mishit a ball, sending it backward toward the gym wall. Sharkey tracked it down just before it hit the wall, sending it back over the net. The Spartans ended up winning the point after a long back and forth.

They said it: “That was a good hustle play,” Charles said. “She could’ve just let it die, but she just went after it and protected her player. I commend her a lot.”

Up next: Sycamore hosts LaSalle-Peru at 6 p.m. Thursday Rochelle plays Kaneland at home 6 p.m. Thursday at 6 p.m.

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