OAKVILLE — Oakville senior Alexis Williams reached a volleyball milestone in style Tuesday night.
Williams notched career dig No. 1,000 in the first set of the Tigers’ nonconference home match against Eureka. The standout libero was honored with an announcement during a timeout and the junior varsity held up signs commemorating the accomplishment.
“I was kind of surprised,” Williams said. “I knew I was kind of close, but not that close.”
Williams made the mark memorable with a smothering defensive effort to lead Oakville to a 25-11, 25-13 sweep of the defending Class 4 state champions in a match that lasted just 38 minutes. It was Oakville's 11th consecutive victory and Eureka's second consecutive loss.
While Williams led a stingy back row, setter Julia Klump ran Oakville’s offense to near perfection with 19 assists and three kills. Emily Schellhase had 10 kills and a block and Angela Elguezabal had seven kills, a block and two aces.
“We just really played as a team the entire time,” Klump said. “At the beginning I was like, ‘Guys we need to keep a consistent level of play throughout the entire game,’ and that’s what we did.”
Getting the digs mark in a dominant fashion against Eureka made it extra special for Williams.
“I know most of the players on that team from club,” Williams said. “A lot of them are Rockwood (Thunder) players so I know where they all swing and tip so I’m always kind of right there to get it.”
Regina Elguezabal had three aces and Liv Klump added a pair as Oakville (11-1), No. 4 in the STLhighschoolsports.com large school rankings, put down seven balls from the service line in the match. The aggressiveness from the service line kept No. 6 Eureka (7-5) scrambling and out of system.
“Actually before this week, we had great serve receive,” Eureka coach Jodie Fowler said. “I don’t know what happened, but we’re definitely going to go back and revisit that because that’s causing us a lot of problems. We’re not able to get decent sets off to our offense.”
Julia Klump established Angela Elguezabal in the middle with several early kills. Once she got the Eureka defense to key the middle, she went outside to Schellhase.
“It’s just go to one person until they start getting blocked and then go to another,” Julia Klump said. “It’s just moving around the offense as much as you can and whatever starts working is where you go until it stops working.”
Everything seems to be working for Oakville, which has won every match since a season-opening loss to No. 2 Lafayette. That includes the Edwardsville Tournament championship a couple of weeks ago amid a solid field.
Oakville's success starts on the back row, which takes pride in frustrating opponents.
“We have like five great defensive players,” Williams said. “We’re really short, but the ball never hits the floor on our side and we’re known for serving really tough which gets the other team out of system.”
The Tigers have hit the ground running under new head coach Luke Allen, who came over from Incarnate Word.
“I knew that there was a lot of talent here and what’s nice is the girls have done all the work,” Allen said. “It's day in, day out working to get better and we talk all the time about not getting complacent.”
The players have responded quickly to Allen.
“He has two main things, which are effort and communication and he keeps reiterating that to us,” Julia Klump said. “That’s what we focus on in every practice and every game.”
Oakville hopes the winning ways translate into a postseason run.
“We’ve got to be in the gym every day always pushing ourselves to be better,” Allen said. “We’re only going to be as good and we push ourselves to be.”