Stevenson claims family-style win over Lake Zurich
Most certainly Sept. 23 on the volleyball calendar was circled at the Dykgraaf household in Hawthorn Woods.
Why? Well, it would be the first meeting of the season for mother and daughter. You see, Kylie Dykgraaf, the freshman setter at Lake Zurich, is the daughter of longtime Stevenson assistant coach Vicky Nordhem.
Mom got bragging rights on this night.
The Patriots (12-10) found a hot hitter in Isabella Milejczyk (13 kills) and a blocking magnet in Anna Drozdzewicz (12 blocks) and stopped the Bears 25-14, 23-25, 25-18 in a North Suburban Lake Division match Tuesday night.
It was surprising Stevenson won this match rather easily despite having a major informer on the other side of the net. You see, Dykgraaf knows just about everything about the Pats.
"She's been in the Stevenson gym since she was in a stroller," Nordhem said. "She would get hit in the head with volleyballs and she wouldn't be bothered."
For the ninth-grade setter, this match was all she could think about.
"This game meant so much to me," Dykgraaf said. "I pretty much grew up with those girls. It's been so fun. They are all my friends."
Set 1 was clearly the most one-sided but it was close for most of the set. Stevenson's lead was just 12-11 until Jori Radtke went to serve. She was aided by a big block from Stephanie Bulandr. By this time, Milejczyk was beginning to take over with some savage hits.
"I feel I contributed," Milejczyk said. "I played a part. We played at a high level tonight. We really played together."
As well as the Pats played in Set 1, the Bears rallied in Set 2. Lake Zurich stretched its second-set lead to 18-13 on a clever hit from Hannah Sweetwood. The Pats looked ready to rally and take this match in two. A Radtke block aided a comeback that saw the Pats knot the score at 22-22.
Nordhem helped coach Stevenson on this night, as head coach Tim Crow was ill.
"The girls are starting to jell," Nordhem said. "They are serving tougher and their serve receive is better. These girls have had a lot of meetings trying to get to know each other."
Rachel Corrigan's block ended Set 2 in Lake Zurich's favor. Lake Zurich coach Matt Aiello was hoping for a better performance from his club.
"That was not a good high school volleyball match," Aiello said. "Neither team quit, but neither played well either."
Set 3 was up for discussion for some time. Stevenson showed off its blocking skills to open up an 11-8 lead. Talented setter Corissa Kurth (17 assists) and Drozdzewicz contributed blocks. Radtke added 7 kills for the Pats. Libero Morgan Berland led the Pats defense with 16 digs. Dana Pflugradt added 14 digs.
Lake Zurich had help from sophomore Lexi Gora (7 kills). Sweetwood added 6 kills. Mickenzie Andrews had 14 digs.
Dykgraaf is glad to be setting this Bears team.
"It's so exciting," she said. "I've been accepted as a freshman. I have great teammates."