At first glance, this fast girl Sierra Kepski could pass as a soccer player.
She's really that quick. And clearly she's not tall enough to play volleyball. She might, yes might, pass for 5-foot-1.
Kepski might have been the shortest girl on the volleyball court on Tuesday night in Mundelein. It didn't matter. The Carmel sophomore provided some deadly serves and played stellar defense. Carmel registered its second win of the early season by stopping visiting Lake Zurich 25-23, 25-20.
Kepski is well aware what she brings to the latest Carmel team.
"I'm really fast," she said. "I get to places quickly."
Carmel's second-year coach David Pazely is glad to have this speedster on his latest team.
"She really gets after it," Pazely said. "And that float serve really drops."
The visiting Bears opened a quick 8-3 lead in set one and that lead looked safe at 19-13 when talented middle hitter Amelia Lang banged knees with a teammate and hit the floor. In better news, Lake Zurich coach Matt Aiello felt she would be fine. But the senior did not return for the rest of the match.
"We dominated the match before she got hurt," Aiello said. "We were bigger, faster and stronger. And then our serve reception went down. We are too talented and well prepared to let a little adversity bother us."
Pazely admitted the injury to Lang did change the momentum rather quickly.
"We beat them last year and they wanted revenge this year," he said. "But they mentally panicked when she went down. I told our girls that was our opportunity and they went after it."
With Lake Zurich still leading in set one, Kepski introduced her float serve and chalked up some quick points for the home team.
"We are amazing," Kepski said. "Everyone gets along with each other."
More solid serving from both Lynn Zemaitis and Mary Paterkiewicz, two of the four seniors on this young team, helped catch Carmel up late in set one. Sophomore Gracie Schofield's kill won set one.
Carmel didn't have to rally from behind in set two. With Paterkiewicz serving to open the set, both Elizabeth Rengers and Alyssa Armada registered kills. Armada is a transfer from Loyola Academy. She is the Corsairs setter.
"I thought she was one of the best players on the court tonight," Pazely said. "She makes good decisions out there."
Aiello is sure his Bears will bounce back. After all, there is Rhode Island University-bound Layne Self hitting out of the middle for this latest Bears team. She gave her team 10 kills in the two sets.
"She's one of the best middles in the state," he said. "And with Amelia, we have two of the best middles in the state. We have a lot of talent. We just need to keep our composure."
Mallory Parson chipped in 6 kills for the Bears. Lake Zurich setter Kristen Walding notched 23 assists.
Carmel had 6 kills from senior Caitlin Berry. Armada had 4 kills and 11 assists.