Carmel volleyball coach Dave Pazely doesn't want this knowledge spread around the state, but it's too good not to point this fact out: That transfer student on Carmel's roster is one special player.
Alyssa Armada can certainly set a fine ball, but how many times do you see a setter lead her team in hitting? And by a large margin, at that.
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Armada, a junior, certainly showed Fenwick what she had going on Tuesday night in Mundelein. She blasted, get this, 11 kills in just two sets, adding 14 assists as the Corsairs (13-7, 2-0) rolled past the Friars 25-14, 25-20.
"She's the most versatile player I've seen," Pazely said. "It's great to have a transfer player come in like this."
Armada attended to her duties as setter in the early going as Carmel ran out early to a 14-8 lead in set one. And then she got busy hammering the volleyball.
"We played exceptionally," Armada said. "It was nice to have Caitlin Berry back (from an injury) and our defense was picking everything up."
Armada move to Barrington after her sophomore season at Loyola Academy, and figured Carmel was a little closer drive than Wilmette. She has played her club ball at Sky High and admits she works hard at the game.
"I've had a lot of practice," she said.
When not smashing volleyballs herself, Armada manages to feed other hitters. Berry picked up 6 kills while sophomore Gracie Schofield added 4 kills.
"Gracie is so aggressive," Armada said. "She's very talented."
The Corsairs were not really threatened in the first set, which ended with 5-foot-2 Sierra Kepski serving. She fired off an ace and got help from a block kill by Abigail Johnson and a finishing kill from Berry.
Pazely is also grateful for Kepski's defense.
"Sierra is unbelievable in the back row," he said. "I can't believe some of the plays she makes."
A kill by Schofield in set two opened up a quick 9-4 Carmel lead.
"She's probably one of our strongest hitters," Pazely said. "And we are able to play her outside."
Clearly the play of the match for the home team came in set two. Following a brilliant save by Shauna Meagher, Armada leaped into the air and slammed down a kill to open up a 12-6 lead.
Only a few missed serves in set two kept Carmel from running away from Fenwick. The Friars did close within 19-15 but between the hitting of Berry and Armada, the visitors couldn't get closer.
Mary Paterkiewicz notched a net ace and that was followed up by the 11th and final kill by Armada ending the match.
"This was a big conference win," Pazely said.
Paterkiewicz joined Armada with 14 assists. Kepski led the defense with 7 digs. Berry, Meagher and Paterkiewicz all had 2 aces each.