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Fremd rallies past New Trier

By John Leusch, 10/30/18, 9:45AM CDT


For the second time in three years, Fremd's girls volleyball team has a sweet tooth for Halloween week.

Just like they did in 2016, the Vikings have advanced to the Sweet Sixteen of the Class 4A state tournament.

And it was the Vikings' Rylen Reid, a seventh grader when Fremd advanced to the Glenbrook South sectional title two years, who dramatically put down the final 2 points in the No. 3-seeded Vikings' 23-25, 25-19, 26-24 triumph over No. 2 seeded New Trier in Monday's Loyola sectional semifinal.

Fremd (31-7) will face the host and top-seeded Ramblers (29-8) in Wednesday's 6 p.m. championship.

"She's (Reid) so fantastic," said Fremd senior libero Maddie Aichinger, who was fantastic herself with a team-high 21 digs. "We're so lucky to have her on our team."

"Rylen (6 kills) really stepped up huge those last few points," said Fremd coach Curt Pinley. "And we needed it from her. She does such a great job at practice and in parts of the game. We talked a lot to her about getting her elbow up and swinging aggressively. I've told her 'I know you have it in you and I've seen it from you'. And she really delivered tonight."

Reid is one of three Fremd freshmen who has delivered this season along with teammates Rian Baker (12 assists) and Claudia Wala.

"It's really incredible how diverse our team is in age," said senior Heidi Sayre. "And how we can really come together and put forth efforts to win our games."

Sayre sure helped the Vikes win on Monday, putting down 14 kills followed by classmate Peyton Hooker with 11 and Reid 11.

Fremd raced to an 8-2 lead (6 straight points from Baker) but the Trevians (30-7) fought back.

The set was tied at 21, 22 and 23 before a kill by New Trier's Gillian Klise got the Trevians to set match at 24-23.

However, Sayre produced a big kill to tie at 24, bringing Aichinger to the service line.

Rylen Reid's consecutive kills then sent Fremd into Wednesday's title match.

"We worked so hard in practice and we were so excited to play this match," Aichinger said. "I can't believe we finished it. Now it's on to the championship."

"I think we did a great job staying aggressive," said Pinley, who also got 16 assists from junior setter Lydia Vander Ark. "We went after them the whole evening and I told them this is how we're going to have to play in the sectional championship if we want to win.

"I think this was good starting point for us and now hopefully we finish on Wednesday."

Back to back aces by Aichinger gave Fremd a 17-11 lead in Set 1. The lead extended to 20-12 but New Trier battled back and tied the set at 23 on a kill from Klise. A kill and block by Taite Ryan gave the Trevians the comeback win.

In Set 2, Fremd jumped ahead 4-2 and led by as much as 18-11. The Vikes put it away on 3 straight service points from Aichinger, including a kill by Reid and 2 hitting errors by New Trier.

"They (New Trier) were tall," Sayre said. "It was intimidating at first. But we realized as long as we swing high and hit deep, we can win this."

"We've had trouble starting out comfortable in sets," said Trevians coach Hannah Hsieh. "We just play a little tight. We're still learning about relaxing. We didn't block as well as we wanted. We got tooled a lot and we had worked a lot on that. There were key moments where we didn't execute and things just didn't work out our way."