SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- The Union Catholic volleyball team, ranked No. 3 in the state, found itself trailing in both sets when it clashed with No. 2 ranked North Hunterdon on Thursday.
But the Vikings did what they've done all season long. They fought back to win a thrilling showdown between state powers.
In the opening set, North Hunterdon, which came into the match with a 10-0 record, jumped out to a 6-0 lead. But the Vikings mounted a furious rally and came back to win the set, 25-21.
Union Catholic, now 10-0, had to climb out of another hole in the second set when North Hunterdon used a big surge to take a 20-16 lead. But again the Vikings stormed back, winning the second set dramatic fashion when senior Alexandra Kwasnik recorded two straight kills to clinch a 26-24 victory.
The victory was Nancy Saggio's 499th as head coach at Union Catholic. She will go for No. 500 on Friday at 6:30 p.m. vs. Union at Union Catholic. Coach Saggio also won 43 matches as head coach at Mt. St. Dominic from 1995-97. Her record at UC is 499-131 and her overall career record is a remarkable 542-150.
Coach Saggio said her 499th victory as UC head coach was another example of what the theme to this season has been.
"I feel that if this year had a theme it's resilience,'' said Coach Saggio. "This team just doesn't quit. They have faith in their abilities.''
Lots of Vikings came up big in the victory.
Kwasnik finished with 12 kills and seven service points. Olivia Szyszkiewicz had 10 digs, nine kills, and eight service points. Abbey Ortiz recorded 10 service points, eight assists, and seven digs. Brianna Lamberty had eight assists, eight service points, and four digs. Najlaa Williams had 13 digs, and Aliyah Thomas had eight service points for the Vikings.