FULTON, Ill. — The heat was nearly unbearable inside the gym at Stan Borgman Court on Thursday night, but looking at the excitement on the faces of the Fulton volleyball team you would have thought the A/C was on.
Tuesday’s first game of the season for the Steamers was canceled because of the heat, but they weren’t going to let their game against rival Morrison see the same fortune.
“We’ve been waiting for this,” coach Stacy Germann said. “Our Tuesday night game was canceled, and we just need to see what we can do in a real game situation. It’s been a little rough trying to get our practices in; you get to the point where you’re ready for a game and then when your practices get cut short and you get out of your routine, it’s a little hard to keep it in tact, but they did a good job.”
The Steamers have veteran presence this year on the court with five returning upperclassmen from last year’s team, four of whom are starters, and the grit from playing together all of last year showed in their 25-17, 26-24 win over Morrison to start the season.
“They (seniors) have advanced since last year,” Germann said of her returning players. “Last year that process was a little bit difficult for them, just being young, and they’re doing it now and that’s what we want them to do. Step up as seniors, step up to the plate and show that volleyball intelligence, and they’re doing it.”
Fulton grabbed an early lead over the Fillies in the first set with solid all-around play from each of the girls who saw court time. Sophomore middle hitter Betsy Leonard showed her athleticism early and often all night, dominating close to the net. Leonard mixed up her kills down the line and crosscourt with the help of her setters, Olivia Edfors and Rachael Beiermann, keeping Morrison from gaining any momentum in the middle of the set.