Girls volleyball: Stevenson's making it tougher
With a young and untested Stevenson girls volleyball team taking the court at the start of this season, the scouting report was a simple one.
Just stop No. 5, Northern Illinois-bound Jori Radtke, and your team had a good chance of a win over the Patriots.
So much for that strategy.
The Patriots are 20-3 after Wednesday night's 25-11, 25-18 win over visiting Zion-Benton in North Suburban Conference action. As the Zee-Bees found out, this Pats' team has other weapons. For one, try sophomore Sophie Sorenson.
"She's a stud," Stevenson coach Tim Crow said. "She's a great lefty hitter. She has a really quick arm swing. She has a great attack from the back row."
The win marked the first home match of the campaign for Stevenson. So where have the Patriots been?
"We've been playing two or three matches a week," Sorenson said. "We are pretty good. We work well together and have good chemistry."
And being a southpaw on this Pats team?
"My setter (Alex Cuc) knows where to set me," Sorenson said. "In volleyball, you need good passes to get the setter the ball."
With Cuc serving, the Patriots got help from a Radtke kill and three Z-B errors, and their lead was quickly 9-3.
"Cuc has improved a ton," Crow said of the junior. "It was good to see her make good decisions."
Chloe Robinson, who saw action a year ago at libero, stepped to the serving line in Set 1. She had help from a Sorenson kill and another one from middle hitter Sara Woodstein, and the Pats' lead was 14-5.
"Chloe's footwork was good tonight," Crow said. "She was very calm out there and played very strong."
Sorenson's serving session in Set 1 was also a success. She fired off consecutive aces, and another Radtke kill extended the lead to 20-7.
Set 2 was more competitive. Zion-Benton also has a strong player in outside hitter Sylvia Scheck. With her help, the Zee-Bees stayed in contention. It also helped their cause that Stevenson did not serve well for most of the match.
The Patriots missed 9 serves in the match, including six in the second set. A Cuc kill opened up an 11-9 advantage. Then with Radtke serving, a block kill from Sarah Bufe made it 15-11. Radtke's block grew the lead to 20-15.
"We haven't been playing that well lately," said Crow, whose team lost to Hersey on Monday night. "Maybe we got a little bit of confidence from this win."
In addition to 10 kills from the slugger Radtke, the Pats had 7 kills from Sorenson. Hope Havenhill, a 6-foot-2 right side, had 4 kills. Cuc finished with 19 assists.
Stevenson gets a tougher test on Thursday when once-beaten Lake Forest visits.