By Kevin Chlum
NewsTribune Sports Editor
The La Salle-Peru volleyball team is aware of its streak, but there’s not much discussion about it.
The Lady Cavaliers are still perfect on the season without dropping a set after rolling to a 25-11, 25-15 victory over Sycamore in an Interstate Eight Conference match Tuesday in La Salle.
“We haven’t really talked about it because we don’t want to jinx it, but we definitely want to keep it going,” L-P senior Paige Champlin said.
Champlin said experience and chemistry have been key to L-P’s streak of 24 consecutive sets won.
“I think we’ve just put our skills together,” Champlin said. “We have a lot of good talent. Since we have 10 returning seniors, we have a good bond. We all work well together.”
L-P coach Mark Haberkorn attributes the streak to the team’s competitive nature.
“The girls are such great competitors,” Haberkorn said. “They love to compete. In practice, when we start scrimmaging, one side doesn’t let the other side gain an advantage. Everybody just loves to beat everybody else. When they get on the court (for a match), they love the competition. They strive for it. That’s part of it. They also love to play and love playing with each other.
“It’s been a great start. The kids come out and play hard, practice hard and get along. It’s been a great ride so far.”
The Lady Cavs (12-0, 5-0 I8) rode strong serving to Tuesday’s win.
The first set was tight early as L-P led 10-9 before Kamryn Olson rattled off six straight points, including three aces, to propel the Lady Cavaliers to a 17-10 lead and a 15-2 run to close the set.
“We played so well together,” L-P coach Mark Haberkorn said. “I really like how the team gelled out there. Our serving got them out of system and we just kept attacking. We served aggressive. We served short and served long. We hit our spots.
“We finished strong (in the first set) and the same thing happened in the second set. We got to a point where all of a sudden we turned it on. We played s smooth.”
The second set was tight early on as well before Champlin served four straight points for an 11-6 lead.
The Lady Cavs led by at least five points the rest of the way.
“Habs has really been emphasizing serving at practice,” Champlin said. “We do a lot of serving drills. A lot of zone serving. We end every practice with someone hitting a zone. It’s really a key focus.”
The Lady Cavs served five aces and only had two service errors.
“La Salle-Peru is a very skilled team,” Sycamore coach Jennifer Charles said. “We knew we had to rise to the occasion. We’ve been in kind of a lull right now, but for the most part, I was happy with the pace of the game we had throughout the match. Serve-receive did get better in the second set. That’s going to be key for us throughout the season.
“We just have to be confident on serve-receive and want the ball every single time someone serves it to us. I thought offensively when we were in system, the girls did a very good job of creating shots for themselves knowing La Salle-Peru plays a different style of defense than we’ve seen all year.”
Olson had 11 points, four aces, nine assists, seven kills and six digs, senior Arika Richardson put down seven kills, Champlin contributed 11 points and 11 aces and senior Emma Happ added 12 points, one ace, five digs and three kills.
“I thought we did pretty well,” Champlin said. “We haven’t really been playing that tough of competition, but this week we’ve played some good teams and I think we’re playing really well.”
Note: L-P won the sophomore match 24-26, 25-14, 25-20. L-P swept the freshman level as the Red team won 25-14, 25-2 and the Green team won 25-16, 25-9.