QUINCY -- A packed house gave the Pit an electric atmosphere as the Quincy Notre Dame volleyball team hosted Quincy High School for a cross-town showdown Tuesday night.
Fans, coaches and players alike expected a match similar to last year's epic three-set clash, but instead the Raiders ran away and hid.
QND rolled to an easy 25-7, 25-5 to improve to 28-0 on the season, a result that even surprised the Raiders bench.
"Last year it was a really good game at their place and I expected the same thing here just because it's the cross-town rivalry," QND coach Courtney Kvitle said. "We were ready, it was Senior Night and my starting group are seniors and they played like they were seniors. They were on a mission, and they served Quincy High School off the board."
The Raider seniors really did come to play. Sydney Hummert led the way with nine kills, two aces and two blocks, while fellow senior Meredith Siebers accounted for six kills and two blocks and setter Maddie Peters had 15 assists.
"We just bond so well together," Hummert said of the entire senior class. "We work together hard in practice every day and we have one goal, and that's to win a state title."
QND finished with three aces, but all night the serves put the Blue Devils out of position and interrupted any offensive flow.
"Our serving was phenomenal and they had a very, very hard time with that," Kvitle said. "All-in-all we made two or three errors the entire match, we just didn't make errors tonight. When you don't make errors and you serve really tough, you win."
The win was the 28th of the season for QND, but that kind of domination of a rival had a special place in the team's heart.
"It was awesome," Hummert said with a grin.
While the Raiders played clean, QHS couldn't get out of its own way. Early in both sets the Blue Devils had chances to stay even, but error after error would pile up and lead to a large QND run.
Part of that error issue was the fear Hummert puts into opposing teams.
"That was the story of the game, we made errors and they didn't," QHS coach Tim Hill said. "They got so focused up on Sydney and what she can do, and she had some good swings, but we let her get in our heads."
Emma Sparrow recorded the only kill of the night for the Blue Devils.
"The girls got very hyped to be in a rivalry game, we did a good job coming out and keeping out mindsets good, but then one thing went wrong and we just snowballed from there," Hill said. "We have to do a better job with the mental state of the game, right now we're just not snapping out of it and we are letting a 2-point run turn into a 10-point run. That's what we have to fix."
Sometimes error can be contagious, but the Raiders were able to keep away from that issue.
"When we play teams that are messing up like that it can kind of get us out of our groove, but coach tells us to just focus on every single point and I think we really did that," Hummert said.
Kvitle never worried about her team keeping their heads in the match.
"They are just a determined group of individuals," she said. "My bench is deep and we are pushed every day in practice. Whoever is across the net from us, our goal is to win.