With a team that has only two seniors on its roster, you would think Cary-Grove's girls volleyball team would struggle during the early portion of the 2013 season.
Forget about it. The Trojan express is rolling like a well-oiled machine.
Posting a 4-1 slate at Saturday's Jacobs Invitational, the Trojans finished a solid fifth in the talent-laden tourney.
Cary-Grove, 6-1 overall for the season, defeated Wheaton North 25-20, 24-26, 25-12 to earn fifth place.
"We are so young, but this team is very talented," said Cary-Grove coach Patty Langanis. "Every match is a steppingstone for us. The kids are learning every day and I am looking forward to having a lot of fun. This is a tough tournament with a lot of good teams. To finish fifth with such a young team is quite an accomplishment.
In the fifth-place match against the Falcons, the Trojans bounced back after losing Game 2 to win the third game convincingly.
Cary-Grove, which never trailed in the third game, started fast and led by 11, 18-7, after an ace from Sarah Graham. Graham's kill off a perfect set by all-tournament selection senior setter Meghan Seymour gave the Trojans the game and match.
Cary-Grove, which went 2-1 in pool play losing only to tournament runner-up Waukesha (Wis.) Memorial Catholic 17-25, 27-25, 15-11, was led by Seymour with 24 assists.
"We worked really hard in the summer and the young girls who have come into the program have been awesome," said Seymour, who will play collegiately at Division II Northern Michigan. "I am looking forward to an enjoyable season."
Ally Schebel, who joined Seymour on the all-tournament team, collected 10 kills for the Trojans.
Jacobs, 3-2 in the tournament, defeated Hersey 25-22, 25-21 to claim seventh place.
The Golden Eagles (5-3 overall) broke a 21-21 tie in the second game by scoring the final 4 points to win the game and match. Two kills each by Kassie Kasper and Bridget Wallenberger provided the Golden Eagles with the winning points.
Jacobs, which lost to Stevenson 25-18, 25-19 in pool play and to Wheaton North 25-23, 25-15 in championship play, was led by Wallenberger with 12 kills. Mackie Traub, an all-tournament selection, had 18 assists.
'I thought we could have done a little better," said Jacobs coach Lisa Dwyer. "We had some net violations and mistakes at the wrong times and it cost us. We need to clean some things up and the mistakes are fixable."
Rockford Boylan won the tournament with Waukesha second followed by Crystal Lake Central third, Stevenson fourth, Cary-Grove fifth, Wheaton North sixth, Jacobs seventh, Hersey eighth, Evanston ninth, Dundee-Crown 10th, Hampshire 11th and Belvidere North 12th.
Dundee-Crown was 1-4 on the day, beating Belvidere North and losing to Boylan, CL Central and Evanston twice. Leading the Chargers (3-4) for the day were Ashley Raby (14 kills), Breanna Novak (11 kills, 21 digs), Kailey Moll (9 kills, 3 blocks), Lauren Lococo (9 kills, 17 digs, 5 aces, 2 blocks), Frankie Cavallaro (39 assists, 7 aces) and Kaylee Sommers (14 digs).
Hampshire also went 1-4 on the day, beating Belvidere North and losing to Stevenson, Jacobs, Hersey and Evanston. Erin Foss (21 kills, 5 aces), Caitlin Conlon (20 kills), Brittany Laffin (69 assists), Julianna Gass (49 digs), Sara Finn (37 digs), Kaila Klenzler (6 blocks, 5 aces) and Dallas Krueger (3 blocks) led the Whip-Purs.