An exceptional talent like Riverside Academy senior Kendra Turner can help a team mask its deficiencies. On Tuesday night, Benjamin Franklin’s exceptional team play exposed the Lady Rebels.
Despite Turner’s six blocks and season-high 20 kills at Franklin’s gym, Riverside (10-2) lost to Franklin (8-1) in straight sets, 25-18, 25-16, 25-23. The Lady Falcons had control throughout most of the match and led by double-digits at one point in the second game.
“Our talent is better than their talent, but you can’t just win with talent,” Riverside coach Chelsea Lucas-Nicholas said.
“They fought. They had heart. They showed passion. We don’t have that. We’ve got to get back to that soon.”
Riverside appeared poised to close the gap in the third set after dropping the first two by seven and nine points. A Turner spike gave the Lady Rebels a 4-1 advantage early. Falcons star Allison Olsonoski scored two possessions in a row to cut the deficit to one. Turner responded with two consecutive points but was unable to carry Riverside to victory.
“We don’t have a Kendra, but we have 12 players,” Franklin coach Jodee Pulizzano said.
Olsonoski turned in another solid performance in her young career. She led the team with 15 kills and two aces. The 6-foot-2 freshman has already been contacted by colleges and could easily make a case against Lucas-Nicholas’ “talent” remark. But it was Claire Herwehe who put in the complete performance that keyed the Falcon’s eighth victory. She finished behind Olsonoski with 10 kills but led the team in kill percentage at .471.
“The first few points I dug Kendra and I felt pretty good,” Herwehe said.
Franklin got a chance to see Riverdale play when both teams participated in the Woodlawn Volleyball Tournament on Friday and Saturday. Although the two teams did not play each other, they did gain valuable insight into the opponents’ weakness.
“We knew if we got on top of her, got in her mind, we could stop her,” Herwehe said about Turner.
Lucas-Nicholas said she knew what her team needed to do but they did not execute.
“We got a lot of kills, but you can’t just get points off of kills,” she said. “You’ve got to be a complete team.”
Turner and Riverside have a full week to mull the loss before facing Northlake Christian on Tuesday. Franklin will play another, even more familiar foe today.
“Now we have to play Lakeshore who we beat in the Woodlawn tournament. They’ll really want to beat us,” Pulizzano said.