It's no wonder Division I schools are drooling over 6-foot-1 Crystal Lake South junior hitter Carly Nolan.
Nolan's 11 kills and 5 blocks keyed the Gators' 25-15, 25-21 win over District 155 rival Cary-Grove in Fox Valley Conference Valley Division girls volleyball action at The Swamp in Crystal Lake Thursday night.
"We have 5-8 kids trying to block Carly and she just hits the ball over them," said Cary-Grove coach Patty Langanis. "She is so strong and so fast. We were scrambling all night to block her. She is a fantastic player."
Nolan's dominance was prevalent in Game 1. With the score tied at 9, she contributed 5 kills and 2 blocks as South ripped off 12 straight points to take a 21-9 lead,
"Carly is always amped up, but she is really amped for matches against a rival like Cary-Grove," said South coach Jorie Fontana. "She has the ability to hit the ball hard and with accuracy and she was fantastic tonight. Her aggressiveness and energy gets the whole team fired up."
Spurred by a 12-0 run, the Gators (9-1, 3-0) were able to take a 1-0 advantage in the match after a game-ending kill by Nolan.
The Trojans made life more difficult for the Gators in Game 2.
Paced by 3 kills each from Abby Schebel and Kayli Trausch the Trojans (7-2, 2-1) jumped off to an 8-4 lead in Game 2.
But the Gators didn't panic and countered Cary-Grove's fast start with a 7-2 run to take an 11-10 lead on a kill by Sara Mickow. The Gators' biggest lead of the game was 6, 24-18, after a kill by Nicole Slimko.
Cary-Grove didn't quit and scored 3 straight points led by 2 kills from Sarah Graham to make the score 24-21. But the Trojans couldn't get any closer as the Gators scored the final point of the match on a serving error.
Backing up Nolan's effort for the Gators was Avalon Nero with 8 kills and Slimko had 6 kills. Cassie Sivesand set up the Gator hitters with 22 assists.
"Myself and the whole team really gets up for Cary-Grove," said Nolan. "Everybody on the team gets along on and off the court. Cary-Grove played tough and we had to play well to beat them."
Trausch led the Trojans with 5 blocks and 5 kills. Schebel collected 5 kills and Meghan Seymour delivered 18 set assists.