BELLEVILLE — The consistency level still isn't what she would like, but coach Jami Parker felt that the Edwardsvillle girls volleyball team took a step forward Tuesday night.
Despite a few lulls, including a stretch in the second game in which it was outscored 10-1, Edwardsville was able to earn a 25-22, 25-21 nonconference win at Althoff. The Tigers' record improved to 11-5.
"We've been talking about not giving up runs and that was something we struggled with again tonight," Parker said. "We gave up some large runs early in games and we've got to work on closing those down.
"To the girls' credit, when they did get behind, they kept their head on their shoulders. They focused and they didn't get rattled and they battled back out of it every time."
The loss dropped Althoff to 4-10.
"We didn't step up when we needed to, even though we were winning most of the second game," Crusaders coach Sara Thomas said. "We didn't play bad, but when we get pressure on us, we need to learn how to react."
A 4-0 Althoff run, including an ace serve by Briana Nowak, gave the Crusaders a 9-5 lead in game one. Edwardsville went ahead 17-16 on a kill by Autumn Harris, but Althoff took a 20-18 lead on a kill by Megan Seibel.
With Lynsey Wright serving, Edwardsville responded with a 6-0 run to go up 24-20. Althoff won the next two points to stay alive, but a deep serve by Seibel closed out the game for the Tigers.
Edwardsville started strong in game two, taking an 8-4 lead on a block by Harris. Althoff won 10 of the next 11 points, going ahead 14-9 on a block by Mackenzie Burris.
Twice, Edwardsville pulled within one point, and that's when Wright took over, getting a tip to cut Althoff's lead to 19-18. The 6-foot senior middle hitter made a block to tie the score on the next point and followed with a kill to put the Tigers ahead. An ace by Carly Thebeau made the score 21-19.
Another tip by Wright pushed Edwardsville's lead to 23-20, and a kill by Camrey Saye put the Tigers within one point of a win.
"They started blocking me a lot, so I talked to my coach and asked what I needed to do different," Wright said. "She said I needed to mix up my shots and that's what I did."
Althoff won the next point, but a kill by Saye clinched the victory for Edwardsville.
"Kudos to my defense tonight for making some heads-up plays and keeping the momentum when we were a little bit wobbly," Parker said. "We're definitely making progress. We still have some things to clean up and we'll continue to make adjustments."
Althoff made seven service errors, five in the first game and two early in the second game.
"No team can make that many mistakes and expect to win a match," Thomas said. "We played much better as a team overall, but we need to make some changes on defense and blocking. We haven't had practice in two and a half weeks because of our schedule and it shows, but luckily we don't play again until next Tuesday."