LANSING | For an 0-2 Illiana Christian boys volleyball squad, it was going to be no easy task when 10-3 Richards came to town Wednesday night.
The Bulldogs were able to control the first and third sets on their way to a 25-22, 23-25, 25-13 win over Illiana Christian. After battling from behind for the entire first set, the Vikings controlled play throughout the second game but were unable to keep it close in the final set.
Trevor Dekker had 15 assists, three kills, and three blocks for Illiana Christian.
"I think we made a couple of silly mistakes," Dekker said. "They're a good team. They were making good plays, and sometimes we just lose our heads out there. We just need to work at getting our focus back."
Richards (11-3) was able to keep ahead of Illiana Christian (0-3) through much of the first game. The Vikings were able to battle back and tie the first set at 20, but Richards took five of the last seven points for the win.
"I thought we served and received much better than yesterday," Vikings coach Nikki Van Dyke said. "There's getting to be less errors and less jitters I think."
Illiana Christian played from ahead in the second game, but the Bulldogs would not go easily. Richards tied the second set at 22, but the Vikings held on to win the set and tied the match at one game apiece. Illiana Christian is coming off of last week's spring break, so the team is still polishing off rust.
"We're 0-2 and coming off of a week of no practice," Van Dyke said. "Hanging with Richards who is 10-3, and taking a game from them, being 0-2, is huge for us."
In the third set, the Bulldogs jumped out to a quick 6-1 lead before Van Dyke was forced to call a timeout. The Vikings cut the Richards lead to four at 7-3, but it was as close as Illiana Christian would come the rest of the way.
Richards' Ed Karalius finished with 16 kills. Denny Murrin finished the match with seven kills for the Vikings.
"We need to work on communication, and yeah, we need more practice because we had that week off," Dekker said. "This game helped. We showed a lot of improvement. I think we made a good step today."