Naperville Central coach Jeff Danbom lingered on the court after the match, offering instruction to setter Andi Davenport.
With this young Redhawks team, school is definitely in session.
They made the grade Thursday.
The Redhawks, who return just one girl from last year's team, eased past Glenbard East 25-14, 25-18 in Naperville.
Danbom, in his first year as head coach after six assisting Brie Isaacson, appreciates how his girls soak up the knowledge.
"They are receptive to it, and that's the best part," Danbom said. "It's a group of young ladies that want to get better at it and we're showing them what we believe is the right way to do it."
Redhawks middle Phoebe Havenaar, that lone girl back, had 7 kills and a block in the match. Havenaar had 4 kills and 2 aces in the early going of Game 2. Later, when Glenbard East took a 16-14 lead, Havenaar's kill off a slide play started a key 5-0 run.
She has noticed growth in a key area in a relatively short time.
"Definitely communication," she said. "We started off playing as single people, but I definitely feel we've come together more and are clicking more together. I think we did a much better job tonight of communicating and sticking together when we were down."
Glenbard East coach Marci Maier was pleased with how her team competed without its best player, senior outside Meghan Hanewall. Hanewall missed her fourth match with a wrist injury but is expected back next Tuesday.
"Even without her we're hanging with people," Maier said, "so we are encouraged by that."
The Rams (6-8, 1-2 DuPage Valley Conference) were hurt by four missed serves in Game 2, a long serve giving Naperville Central (2-1, 2-0) the lead for good at 3-2. Maier was pleased with the play of Allison Farrell, who had 5 kills and 3 digs. She is one of three Rams sophomores who saw the floor Thursday. Junior Sam Bell had 4 kills and 8 assists.
"We did not play well in that first game," Maier said. "Serve receive broke down and we missed the four serves. You're not going to compete with anybody playing like that. We shored things up in the second game."
Tied at 2-2 in the first, Naperville Central rolled off a decisive 9-1 run. Havenaar, Davenport and Sam Clements had kills and Annelise Bauers an ace during that stretch.
Clements had 4 kills, O'Brien 5 kills and 2 digs and Davenport 15 assists for the Redhawks, who are off to the Crossroads Classic in Effingham this weekend.
"We're going to go through tough spots, but we're also going to go through good spots," Danbom said. "It's working on consistency, working on the fundamentals and mechanics. So much of volleyball is passing the ball well -- and that's the case at all levels. It's a great deal of passing and, since they're young, working on attacking, trying to line up with our setters. That timing is critical and will take time to develop."
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