"Samantha Brown led the way with 17 kills, 11 digs and two aces as Nazareth knocked off visiting Joliet Catholic 25-18, 24-26, 25-20 Thursday. It was the first time Brown has defeated the Angels in her four-year varsity career.
Nazareth junior Kristina Elstner plays the middle almost by default.
“We don’t have a middle blocker,” Nazareth coach Wayne Saunders said. “Tina [Elstner] is not a middle blocker. We line up [5-6 sophomore outside hitter] Troi Sharpp at middle and she never blocks the middle. We’re just doing it with mirrors, really.”
Elstner gave a pretty fair impression of a middle blocker Thursday against visiting Joliet Catholic, however. She won a mad scramble at the net at match point to send Nazareth to a 25-18, 24-26, 25-20 victory.
The kill was her fifth of the match.
“This is my first year of varsity, so I was pretty nervous after we lost the second game,” Elstner said. “But we had a lot of positive energy and started out strong in the third game, We just never gave up. It feels good.”
Nazareth (13-2, 2-2 East Suburban Catholic) appeared headed for a straight-set win leading 24-20 in Game 2. But Joliet Catholic’s Mary Murphy went to the service line after a kill by Madeline Grimm and ignited a 6-0
run with a pair of aces.
“When Mary Murphy gets that look in her eye, the other team is in trouble,” Joliet Catholic coach Chris Scheibe said. “When she went back to serve that last time, she had that look in her eye. That’s just the way she is. She's a Murphy in that respect.”
While another team might have folded after that loss, particularly a team with three sophomores and two juniors in the starting rotation, Nazareth rebounded and built a 17-11 lead in Game 3 on a backrow kill from Samantha Brown (17 kills, 11 digs, two aces)."
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