EAST DUBUQUE, Ill. — Anna Berryman and her East Dubuque teammates were getting sick of practicing.
So the Warriors are taking advantage of finally hitting the courts for more game action after a few cancellations in the early part of the season.
Berryman delivered six kills and seven digs, and fellow senior outside hitter Ali Barklow added five kills as the Warriors swept Bellevue Marquette, 25-14, 25-10, on Monday night at East Dubuque High School.
“Little bit of a rocky start since we’re already behind in the conference with our first two games getting canceled, so we were waiting and just sick of practicing,” Berryman said. “It was good to get in the game and gain some momentum. It’s exciting to be out there in games now.”
Callie Kaiser fronted the Warriors (2-3-1) with eight assists, while Hailey Heiar chipped in eight digs. Rachel Anger added seven digs and three ace serves.
“We’re still coming together, because we’ve had so many games that have been canceled,” ED coach Ashley Sites said. “The girls are coming together more and finding out their options and reading the court better. Tonight was good for them with so many girls coming in and out.”
The Warriors led throughout the opening set against the young Mohawks (0-11). Berryman opened the set with an ace, then Anger nailed a kill and Berryman another ace. Berryman then had three kills over the next seven points to push the lead to 14-7, and Barklow added a couple kills down the stretch to help close out the set.
“It’s only gotten stronger from last year. It’s awesome,” Berryman said of her chemistry with Barklow. “We both have that mindset of hyping each other up. Whenever one of us is down, the other will say, ‘Get out of this. Let’s go! Smack the ball!’ We work really well together. It’s fun.”
While the Warriors are bolstered with a roster of seniors and juniors, they did graduate their setter, Kate Sullivan. Berryman and Barklow are leading that charge, helping along fellow senior Kaiser as she steps into the setter role.
“Anna and Ali, they are my big hitters from last year and they continue to be my big hitters this year,” Sites said. “We’re still working on our setting since we lost our setter. But Callie Kaiser is in there and hasn’t set for how many years, but she’s doing great.”
The Mohawks grabbed their only leads at the beginning of the second set, but the Warriors were too strong and pulled away with 11 straight points. Elise Kilburg made eight digs for the Mohawks, who have just one senior on their roster and 11 total players in the program.
“We graduated five or six seniors from last year, so we’re coming in with a young team and a young core,” Marquette coach Andy Bishop said. “We have 11 players across the whole program, so the players that walked out for the frosh/soph game are basically the same players that walked out for the varsity game. They gain a lot of experience, which is good, but our biggest struggle right now is finding that mentality that drives us to the next point.”
For the Warriors, their first big litmus test of the season comes tonight against rival and perennial power Galena.
“We’re pumped, especially with it being at home,” Berryman said. “That’s giving us motivation to play well. They’re our rival and we’ve got to keep ourselves level-headed. We need to play hard.”