CROWN POINT | During a timeout in the third set, Crown Point senior Caley Rainford grabbed a stat-taking clipboard and began furiously fanning classmate Abby Kvachkoff half-jokingly.
“It’s really hot in our gym, and we were just having fun with it,” Kvachkoff said. “We were just happy with how the team was playing at the time and started playing it up.”
Although the gesture was done on a lark, the Times No. 4 Bulldogs were metaphorically on fire at that point and went on to beat visiting Times No. 3 Andrean 21-25, 19-25, 25-20, 25-14, 15-9 Monday night at Crown Point in the first regular-season matchup between the teams since 1999 when current Bulldogs coach Allison Duncan suited up for the 59ers.
Andrean (15-3) came into the match having won eight in a row and won the first two sets and took a 14-8 lead in the third.
“Games one and two, we had a lot of unforced errors,” Duncan said. “In three, four and five, we were more competitive, had more energy and made them lose the rallies.”
The Bulldogs (11-4) rallied to tie the third set at 15 and deflated the 59ers, who hadn’t lost since August. A Rainford kill put the Bulldogs ahead for good, and after a lift by the Niners, Andrean called timeout and the Bulldogs fanned each other in jest.
Kvachkoff was a big part of the win with 10 kills on a perfect 17-for-17 hitting and three solo blocks.
“When I went against bigger blockers I tipped around them to start, then switched between tipping and hitting,” Kvachkoff said. “Andrean’s a big rival for us, and it makes us more competitive. We definitely talked a lot more the last three games as we picked up momentum.”
Crown Point held the lead throughout the fourth game and the fifth. All-star setter Alyssa Kvarta was everywhere as usual, making huge jump sets and kills and 50 assists on 125 sets. Taylor Sabato seemed to be on the service line for C.P.’s biggest runs and had a team-high 20 digs.
Freshman Jessica Yukich had five aces, three solo blocks and five kills.
“We definitely weren’t complacent,” Kvachkoff said. “We had to forget about all the points we lost and keep pushing forward. We really came together as a team. This win showed a lot of character.”
Andrean took the first game 25-21 after a call at the out-of-bounds pole required some deliberation. Crown Point, aghast at the perceived slight at the first game’s conclusion, played rattled to start the second game and lost 25-19.
Then came the turnaround, which Andrean coach Julie Wiejak said was rife with lessons. The 59ers won the Harrison Invitational on Saturday, and Wiejak was unsure what she’d get Monday night.
“I told the team this is not about losing; it’s about learning versus a very worthy opponent like this,” Wiejak said. “That’s what we need to see for the postseason. We gained a lot of valuable information that also comes with a little bit of a sting.”