Girls volleyball: Anderson, Maine South slam Maine West
Volleyball coaches love to get surprises in the form of a tall middle hitter.
"As a joke, coaches will say 'it sure would be nice to have a 6-foot-2 girl walk into the gym for tryouts,' " said Maine South third-year coach Kathleen Durkin.
Well, it became a reality for Durkin this season.
After playing club and beach volleyball for the past two years, senior Caroline Anderson decided to play in high school.
And her skills are hardly a joke.
Anderson put down 5 kills in the first set to help set the tone for the Maine South attack in a 25-13, 25-12 Central Suburban League crossover win over Maine West on Wednesday in Park Ridge.
"This is fun," said the 6-2 Anderson who played freshman volleyball at Maine South before concentrating on building her skills in club volleyball. "I really like it. I'm glad I came out this year."
"Oh my gosh, we're so excited we got her," said Durkin, who was an outside hitter for Nazareth Academy and Loyola University in Chicago. "I've seen her in the hallway and I said to other players 'why doesn't she play for us?' And Keelin Kelly, our captain, said 'coach, I talked to Caroline and I told her we have a good program and we could sure use her. ' "
The Hawks also used 5 kills from Jelena Cicic and Ana Birkett and 4 from Kelly to pace the offense.
Setter Maura O'Driscoll, a first-year varsity player, keyed the second-set win by serving 10 straight points, including 5 aces, for a 16-6 lead.
"Oh my gosh, they couldn't receive her serve at all," Anderson said. "Maura has a great serve. They could not get that ball up."
O'Driscoll ended up 11 of 13 serving with 7 aces and 22 assists (Anna Schmeltz handed out 13 assists in the Hawks' 6-2 offense).
"Maura really stepped up tonight," Durkin said. "She showed what she is capable of doing. As a junior, that's all I can ask.
"Her serving was the difference in that second set because Maine West does have a great program and it just looked like they had a problem with Maura's serves. That's what sealed the deal for us. Hopefully moving forward, she will have more aces."
Hawks libero Jenna Warren collected 7 digs
Trailing 4-1, Maine West (2-1) came back to tie the first set at 4-4 with a kill from Viviana Ramirez followed by an ace and a service point from Adriana Lopez.
The set was tied at 6 and 7 before South took the lead for good at 8-7 on a kill by Kelly.
"I feel like both sets we kind of hung in there for the first half," said Maine West coach Nora Feyerer. "And then we couldn't sustain it. But this gives us motivation seeing that we can hang in there with a good team like Maine South."
Junior Krysta Block's kill got West to within 15-12 before South closed the first set with a 10-1 run.
A kill by Daria Szczepura tied the second set at 6-6 when Driscoll went on her big service run.
Junior Jenna Beaver led the Warriors with 3 kills while freshman Jaclyn Riedl and Block each had 2.
"Our serve receive was rough there," Feyerer said. "We made some errors. We just have to learn how to not fatigue early and push through to the end. And there are definitely some things we can clean up on our side and eventually play a tighter match. This was great competition to get us ready for our tournament (at New Trier) this weekend."