They call her the Cyborg at home. And we hope it's affectionately.
"My family calls me that,'' said Carmel volleyball slugger Gracie Schofield. "If there is anything around the house that needs lifting, they call me."
Now, you might think the Carmel junior has used all her strength to pound volleyballs since she's been able to walk. Well, that's not true.
"I've been playing for three years,'' Schofield said. "It was really in eighth grade. That's when I really started to like it. I was always athletic. I played softball, basketball and I was a cheerleader, too."
On Tuesday night, the Corsairs (25-4) needed Schofield and all of her teammates to play their game. That's because a hard-hitting club from New Lenox was in town. And Providence Catholic battled the entire night before falling to Carmel 25-22, 25-23.
"Our offense was clicking tonight,'' said Carmel coach David Pazely. "We had 30 kills in two sets. And that's awesome."
Plenty of kills came in the second set which, like the first, was hotly contested. On seven straight side-outs, the Carmel offense took over when Providence (16-8) had the serve. Earning kills during the impressive showing were Morgan Meade, Allie Wayland, setter Alyssa Armada and Haley Nedelka.
In other words, Schofield has plenty of help in the Carmel offense.
"We are a pretty solid team,'' Nedelka said. "We have good passing and a great setter. We really came out with a positive attitude tonight."
Providence opened a 7-3 lead in the second set. The Corsairs didn't catch up until Schofield began to fire off some jump serves. She also got help from an Armada kill. Armada was next on the serving line and Nedelka and Wayland added kills as the Carmel lead surged to 21-17. Still, Providence hung close.
"That's our conference,'' Pazely said. "There is no way around it. That's why the end of the season is so tough."
Carmel, the No. 2 seed in the Conant sectional, had a better start in the first set. With Schofield serving, an Elizabeth Rengers kill made it a 7-4 Carmel lead. Still, the visitors fought back and this set was knotted at 17-17. Meade went to the serving line where she notched an ace. Also a Nedelka kill and a Schofield block gave the Corsairs a 23-21 lead.
Rengers led the balanced Carmel attack with 7 kills. Schofield and Nedelka each had 6 kills. Armada and Whalen added 4 kills and Meade checked with 3.
Armada was a busy setter, with 26 assists in the two sets. Defensive specialist Shauna Meagher led the team with 12 digs, while Sierra Kepski and Lauren Fournier both had 6.