Girls volleyball: Warren's risk-taking paying off
Warren's girls volleyball team was off to a 4-2 overall start through its first six matches and posted a 4-0 beginning in North Suburban Conference play.
Coach Yun Chen credits the strong start to driving in the fast lane, so to speak. "We have been working on a lot of risk-taking, such as serving aggressively and setters making difficult sets during difficult times," said Chen, whose team recently scored wins against Mundelein, Barrington and Deerfield.
The play of seniors Ellie Columbus and Kylie Jasnoch has helped fuel Warren. "They have been great leaders for our team and are cornerstones for our defense," Chen said.
Chen noted Columbus and Jasnoch combined are serving aggressively (40 percent of Warren's aces) and playing tough defense (accounting for more than 40 percent of the team's digs). "And they receive more than 50 percent of the serves," he pointed out.
Lakes coach Sarah Yeager likes how junior outside Julia Tebben and senior libero Allison Stover have started their seasons. Tebben had 9 kills, 25 digs and seven aces in a two-match stretch, while Stover had 12 digs in a match against Grant. "Julia has a great work ethic and a positive attitude," Yeager said. "She is definitely a difference-maker for our team. Allison's ability to pass consistently allows our offense to run efficiently. She as stepped up for us when we needed a big defensive play."
Yeager loves her team's adaptability this spring. "Each player has a role on this team," she said. "That role can vary from day to day, and I believe this team has done a tremendous job embracing this mindset."
A big-time bright spot for Carmel (2-2 to start the week) has been the play of Julia Shrofe. "We have so many girls that can play all over the court, but none has shined through more than Julia," Carmel coach David Pazely said. "She ran a 5-1 offense as a setter when Shannon Brennan wasn't available. Then she started hitting as a pin hitter and now she is getting time as a libero. Her raw athleticism is amazing. She's a multisport athlete (softball) and it shows. Her competitiveness is second to none, and her energy elevates her play as well as her teammates around her. She has been a key part to our team's success."
Also helping the Corsairs has been Riley Clark, a key threat on offense and playing six rotations now, Brennan, who has been running a 5-1 instead of a 6-2 at setter. Brennan led the team in kills against Marian Central and also is one of the squad's top service threats.
Standout Amanda Holsen had 23 kills and 9 aces in the Patriots' first two contests of the season, while Brooke Micek has been stellar as a first-year starting varsity setter. "We have depth as a team," said Stevenson coach Tim Crow, whose team was 2-1 in its first three matches. "We have been able to utilize different rotations during matches this season."
Lake Zurich update:
Chelsea Williams pounded home 29 kills in the Bears' first three matches this season. "Chelsea has been tearing it up as an outside hitter," Lake Zurich coach Rachel Wiatrowski said. "She is having a great season so far."
Grayslake North update:
Not a shabby start at all for Grayslake North, which was 4-1 through its first five contests, thanks in part to recent wins over Waukegan and Round Lake.
And coach Jim Sarver has the numbers to back up that 4-1 mark. While thriving on the pins and at the setting position, the Knights also are averaging more than a 2.0 on a 3.0 scale in team serve-receive and a 21% kill number. "All those stats are record highs for the program," he noted.
Senior Setter Shelby Kellogg and sophomore setter Anneke Holm are averaging 10 assists each a match, while Jessica Pozezinski and Teagan Johnston lead the way in kills. "The team continues to remain focused in a challenging time, and we look forward to finishing the season strong," Sarver said.
Grayslake Central update:
A win against Mundelein late last week moved the Rams to 1-1 overall. Coach Arian Holton said spring break has given her the opportunity to put some players in different situations.
"We had the opportunity to see some athletes do different things and do them successfully," she said.
Junior Maya Cartee, a predominantly right-side hitter, set a match and had 18 assists against the Mustangs. "Having another solid setter in the mix has added a spark to practices," Colton noted.
Junior outside hitter Megan Grampo and senior right side-middle blocker Michaela O'Halleran have excelled as well in the early going. "Megan is a very explosive attacker, but it has been great to see her fight in the back row to pursue balls," Colton said. "She is a real game changer and a competitor. Michaela has gotten a lot of swings on the right side the past week. She plays with a quiet level of confidence and has proven to be a reliable outlet for our offense."