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updated: 8/26/2014 10:50 PM

McAvoy, Elk Grove making a name for themselves

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When you first try to pronounce O'Rayn McAvoy's first name, you might not get it right.

But the Elk Grove senior sure got things right in her first match as a full-time member of the varsity volleyball team.

She went 6-of-7 in both attacking and serving with 3 kills and an ace as the Grenadiers won their season opener 25-22, 25-17 over visiting Maine West on Tuesday night.

"I just have to tell (people) it's pronounced 'O'Ryan' " said McAvoy, whose ace in Set 2 gave the Grens an 8-5 lead and ignited a 9-2 run.

"O'Rayn looked great," said Grens coach Stephanie Kezios, whose team will go into the Peggy Scholten Invite with a 1-0 record a week from Friday. "I was happy to see her make some big plays. She has proved to be a very coachable player for us."

Amber Lindfors also made some big plays for the Grens.

She put down 5 kills with a block to lead the attack.

"She's amazing," McAvoy, a 5-foot-9 middle hitter, said of the only returning varsity player from a year ago.

A year from now, Lindfors will be playing basketball at Division I Southeast Missouri State.

But for now, the 6-4 all-area middle hitter will serve as the Grens' powerhouse at the net.

"Amber needs to continue with her confidence," Kezios said. "When she swings the way she knows how, she will be unstoppable. We want her to put the ball down with as much confidence as she can."

The Grens became more confident with their passing game as the match progressed.

Set 1 was tied at points 15 through 18 before the Grens went ahead for good on a kill by Lindfors and block by McAvoy. An ace by Taylor Merkel put EG in front 23-18.

Maine West got to within 24-22 with an ace from Rachel Kölling and kill by Allison Grzebien before a hitting error gave the Grens the winning point.

"We just needed to get our passing down so we could get going on offense," McAvoy said "We picked up our passing in the second set and kept it going to the end."

Grens junior Carly Crothers finished with 8 digs and was 8-of-10 serving with a pair of aces.

Junior Alex Masnica was 19-of-22 setting with 5 assists while sophomore Mary Cronin was 17-of-19 with 4 assists.

"We all played together (except for Lindfors) on the junior varsity so we're real close," McAvoy said. "We were hoping for better from our passing game because we had been doing well with it in practice. But it was our first match. Now we will get ready for our next the tournament (the Peggy Scholten at Conant and Fremd high schools)."

Kezios said it was important to get the first-match jitters out of the way.

"The thing that was disappointing was our serve receive and passing," she said. "But I was happy with our options in the front row.

"The girls know we have to play better defense and once we do that we know we have the options in the front row."

Jordan Hart led West with 4 kills while Monica Liwag added 3 and Grzebien 2 with 1 solo block, 2 aces, 5 points and 3 assists.

"I experimented this match," said Maine West coach Randy Tiller, whose team led 12-9 in Set 1.

"I wanted to know our competitive starting point. We tried two different lineups which stressed the team. I want them to be ready for stressful competition."

The Warriors (0-1) play at Niles West on Thursday and at New Trier next week. "We will be stress-tested very soon," Tiller said.

Prospect d. Maine South: Coaching her first match in the Jean Walker Field House where she starred in basketball and volleyball, Gabrielle Cottrell-Lovin watched her Knights top Maine South 25-23, 25-19.

"Our girls worked hard the past few weeks to get it," said Lovin, who was the Daily Herald all-area honorary tri-captain in 2004 for basketball.

Catherine Sherwood (3 aces, 4 kills, 5 points), Mary Mazurek (3 aces, 2 kills), Kaeli Myers (5 kills), Brenda Kendziera (3 kills) and Michelle Haaning (12 assists), who had a 7-point serving run, led the home team which returns to action on Thursday when Loyola visits.

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