At 5-foot-4, there was nothing all that unordinary about Mia Harper playing the back row for the Rolling Meadows girls volleyball team last year.
But this season, outside hitter?
Contact information ( * required )
That's exactly where Mustangs coach Joe Di Silvio has the senior playing -- and producing.
Harper put down a team-high 6 kills on Thursday night as Rolling Meadows captured its first victory of the season with a 25-16, 25-17 decision over Maine South.
Harper, who Di Silvio said has a 27-inch vertical, is enjoying her new role.
"I try to do a lot of cut shots," Harper said. "I try to hit above and around the blockers. It's definitely a big change. I've never played a high-level position. There are a lot of things I've got to learn and adjust to, but I'm just trying to get better."
Senior setters Sami Kay and Jenny Vliet were making all the hitters better with 12 and 6 assists, respectively.
"It's nice that we came out a lot stronger this match (after a loss to Stevenson Monday), especially being at home," Kay said. "We had a little breakdown with serve receive at the start of the second game (fell behind 5-0) but once we got the ball with our rhythm we were fine."
Other top attackers for the Mustangs were Lauren Sokolowski (5 kills), Vliet (5 kills) and Ashley Montanez (4 kills).
Hannah Mickey, Montanez and Katie Shewmon each had 2 blocks while Sokolowski led the defense with 11 digs, followed by Grace Skorin (7) and Harper (7).
"We graduated two strong middle (Morgan Keller and Rachel Mickey)," Kay added. "But we've moved people around and this was a good way to start at home. A lot of us have played together in other sports, too."
Maine South, which defeated Prospect in three sets on Tuesday, is coached by former Knights standout Peter King.
"Rolling Meadows served really well (Skorin and Sokolowski each had a pair of aces)," King said. "They got us out of our system a little bit and found holes in our defense.
"Credit to them for keeping us back on our heels and coming out ready to play."
Mundelein d. Barrington: The Mustangs pulled out a 10-25, 25-17, 25-22 victory over the visiting Fillies (0-2), who were led on attack by Christy Roney (9 kills), Emily Watkins (7) and Megan Talbot (4), who also had 2 blocks.
Barrington setter Claire Waliczek handed out 20 assists while top diggers were Emily Casaletto (12), Emily Watkins (8) and Waliczek (8). Roney served for 4 aces while Waliczek had 2.
Fremd d. Vernon Hills: Fremd coach Curt Pinley, who won his 300th match late last season, notched No. 309 as the Vikings won their season opener at Vernon Hills.
Junior Hope (5 kills), senior Ari Messner (4) and senior Amy Anderson (4) led the Vikings attack while junior Carly Roberts handed out 9 assists and junior Jackie Mursulli 6.
Messner also had 3 blocks while teammate Maisie Koo had one.
Lake Zurich d. Buffalo Grove: Lake Zurich posted a 25-13, 25-19 triumph over the Bison (0-3), who were led on attack by seniors Alaina Murphy and Sara Rivera with 3 kills apiece. BG junior setter Marie Georgoulis collected 6 assists with an ace.
Maine West def Niles West: Maine West improved to 2-0 with a 19-25, 26-24, 25-23 victory in the Central Suburban League crossover.
Allison Grzebien's 14 kills led the Warriors, who received 22 assist from senior setter Kassidy Riportella.
Brittany Collins, Magda Czerlonko and Riportella each added a pair of kills for the winners.
Grzebien took a set from Riportella and hit down the line for the game-winning kill. Grzebien's also out down the kill to win the match.
"I'm happy with the effort," said West coach Randy Tiller. "Again, the girls showed determination, but they're killing me with these two point sets. The team adjusted in set two and rallied back. Then, they powered through set three.
"Riportella showed great leadership. Grzebien had another outstanding performance. Niles West passed well and blocked well and we had a tough time with their outside hitter. We did everything we could to keep the ball away from her."