Girls volleyball: Jacked up Stevenson makes quick work of Warren
So many things are different about this girls volleyball season, mostly due to COVID-19.
But one thing that has remained the same at Stevenson is the "Game Day Belt."
Picture a thick white weightlifting belt. With bling. Lots and lots of bling.
Tim Crow, head coach of the girls varsity team, took up be-dazzling one day and decorated the weightlifting belt with shiny beads and rhinestones in the shapes of volleyballs and Stevenson logos.
"Let's keep (the be-dazzling) on the down-low," Crow laughed. "I don't know, I just thought something like this would be neat for the girls to have."
On game days, girls on Stevenson's varsity team wear the belt around school, passing it to each other through the day as a way to pump each other up, and to advertise their game that night. The belt, after all, is unmistakable and a certain conversation starter.
Ultimately, the belt sits on the scorer's table as the team's good luck charm during games.
"You know, we still aren't totally normal at school and we still aren't getting together for pasta parties and all of that stuff. A lot of things still aren't back to normal yet, but having this (Game Day Belt) out here kind of makes it feel like we are getting closer to normal," Crow said. "Plus, it gets them jacked up."
Whether it was the Game Day Belt, or the thought of wanting to stay relevant in the race for the North Suburban Conference championship, the Patriots were certainly jacked up for Warren on Saturday morning at Trinity International University, their home away from home while the Stevenson main gym is being used as a vaccination site.
Stevenson made quick work of Warren, getting a 25-17, 25-23 sweep in North Suburban Conference play. That moves the Patriots to 4-1 on the season with their only loss so far to Lake Forest.
"This has been an interesting season for sure," Stevenson junior hitter Amanda Holsen said. "We kind of had a rough start against Lake Forest. It was our first match. But we have made a lot of strides in practice and we are working together better and communicating more and we've grown a lot as a team.
"We did a good job today dealing with the pressure and we played a fairly clean game and that was super helpful."
Holsen was also helpful, rolling up a team-high 11 kills.
In 2019 as a sophomore, she finished with 451 kills, which ranks as Stevenson's second-highest kills total for a season.
"She's got a great vertical and she's explosive and she has a good swing," Crow said of Holsen. "She can attack from every spot on the floor and we can run different things for her."
The Patriots also got a couple of kills out of Ella Wicklund and Ania Waszynska. They were also big on the net defensively, finishing with 4 blocks and 3 blocks respectively.
Meanwhile, setter Brooke Micek notched 13 assists and also led the team in digs with 9.
"Stevenson is just so consistent," Warren coach Yun Chen said. "They do a really good job of going to (Holsen). She's a great hitter. She can hit line, she can hit across, she can do pretty much everything.
"I just told our kids, don't hang their heads. Stevenson is a very good team and we are young."
Warren starts four underclassmen, including freshmen Ruth Ziegler and Maddie Wojdyla.
Ziegler had 2 kills and 2 blocks. Wojdyla had 6 assists and sophomore Lauren Shaw finished with a team-high 6 kills.
"We have two freshmen, five sophomores," Ziegler said. "But it's fun to see better competition. We've been trying to bond as much as we can with the short season and only two practices before the season started. But we've learned a lot."