Senior setter Toni Morrill and her Trinity volleyball teammates are becoming proficient in dramatic three-game rallies.
On Thursday, the Blazers once again pulled off a huge victory, this time beating previously unbeaten Glenbard West 12-25, 25-22, 25-19 in River Forest after outlasting Nazareth 15-25, 25-18, 26-24 in Tuesday’s home opener.
“It really is (exciting). And it boosts our confidence as well,” said Morrill after 18 assists and six digs against Glenbard West.
“We have a really tough schedule so I think confidence will be our biggest thing. (We need) to continue to work together and just build confidence in each other. We have to trust each other.”
Three juniors also had big matches for the Blazers (4-4) — middle hitter Jovana Bulatovic (10 kills, 3 blocks), outside hitter Carly Uhlir (5 kills, 7 digs) and libero Molly Gates (7 digs). Senior Dimitra Gritzanis had four kills and three blocks and junior Carmen Peterson had seven service points.
Also playing were seniors Natalie Bova, Sierra Brown and Delaney Doolin, juniors Sarah Whiteside and Natalie Rosinski and Emma Potempa, a freshman who began the season with the junior varsity.
“Building from last year, we had a great season so our expectations are even higher for this year,” Morrill said.
Morrill, Bulatovic, Uhlir and Gritzanis are returning starters for last year’s 20-16 team that lost to Oak Park-River Forest in the 4A regional finals.
This year, Trinity will play in 3A and try to capture its first regional title since 2012. The preparation is an even tougher regular-season schedule.
“I said I want the toughest schedule we’ve ever had,” Trinity coach Ken Uhlir said.
“Our goal was to compete with everyone. Not to beat everyone, not to win every time. We don’t come out here to win. We come out to play well and learn. It’s a big difference. If winning happens, we’re super excited. If it doesn’t happen and we learn, we’re satisfied with that.”
The Blazers lost their first two three-game matches this season, including to OPRF in the season opener.
Against Glenbard West (8-1), they led throughout the last two games. Against Nazareth, the Blazers overcame a 19-10 deficit in the third game.
“They’re fighters. They work hard in practice,” Ken Uhlir said. “Glenbard West is a monster team. We knew that we had to do certain things. The second game we started picking it up and by the third game we started doing everything that we wanted to do.”
That especially included defense and serve receive. Trinity limited Duke recruit Natalie Schilling to 16 kills with 10 attack errors after she had 24 kills in three games Tuesday against Marist. Western Michigan recruit Quiana Ware was injured and did not play.
“I think we became more relaxed on the court and confident in each other,” Morrill said. “And our serves (helped). We’ve been working on our serves to be tougher and that helps a lot during the match.”
In the third game, Trinity allowed only one scoring run of more than two points. Glenbard West closed from 10-4 to 10-9 but the Blazers soon moved ahead 19-14 after a kill and solo block from Bulatovic, who had five kills and two solo blocks in the third game.
“We don’t have a serious stats leader. Every night it’s someone different,” Ken Uhlir said. “We need to spread our offense out and have an even balance to compete with these teams.”