Girls volleyball: Senior Night success for Prospect in win over Meadows
What do a future Tiger, Badger, Spartan and Gopher have in common?
All are members of Prospect's girls volleyball team and were honored for Senior Night on Thursday at the Jean Walker Field House in Mount Prospect.
Future collegiate students Jenna Acosta (Louisiana State), Claire Beattie (University of Wisconsin), Leach Cook (Michigan State) and Ashlyn Gadson (University of Minnesota) all made significant contributions in the Knights' 25-17, 25-20 Mid-Suburban East triumph over Rolling Meadows after being introduced prior to the match.
"I really didn't even think we'd have a season back in December," said Gadson, who will study biochemistry at her Big Ten school. "So this was really a nice night."
Acosta, who will study criminology, put down a team-high 6 kills with 9 digs and 2 aces while Cook (nursing) added 2 kills.
Beattie, planning on a double major in business and environmental science, echoed her teammate's thoughts.
"Honestly, I didn't think we were going to have much of a season if we'd had one at all," said Prospect's libero, who collected 12 digs. "I'm just really happy to be on the court with everyone and that we got to celebrate together."
The Knights (6-4, 6-2) celebrated their sixth win of the season as Cam Mather (5 kills, 8 digs, 2 aces), Lauren Wiley (3 kills) and Julia Wydro (2 kills) were other offensive leaders.
Meadows' explosive senior Ashlyn Ryan put down a match-high 9 kills, getting her cues from sophomore setter Maddie Zera (16 assists).
There was a unique twist for Prospect. For the first time this season, the Knights ran a 5-1 offense because junior setter Rachel Keil was not available.
That meant sophomore Lauren Mueller ran the offense by herself.
"That's a big role as a sophomore coming in to set and changing the whole offense in one afternoon," said Prospect coach Laura Gerber. "She did a great job (20 assists, 8 digs). I'm really proud of her. Without Rachel, we had to change our offense and it took a lot of communication during the match but the girls did a fantastic job. They were really aggressive hitting and played really good defense."
Junior Kathryn Keehn served 3 straight points and Prospect raced to a 4-0 lead in Set 1. Meadows (3-6, 2-6) got to within 13-12 but Gadson's diagonal kill to the corner ignited a 3-0 run. An ace by Gadson made it 18-13 and Prospect never looked back.
"We started a little slow just to get the rotations right and transition back to a 5-1 but once we got it, it was good to go," Gadson said. "But it was a big difference going to the 5-1, especially with the three-middle offense we've been running."
"It was a stressful moment for us at the start but I think it showed how well our team works together by how quickly we adjusted and how we were still able to win while missing a starter," Beattie added.
Despite falling behind 5-1 in Set 2, Meadows kept it close and trailed 20-19 on a block from Linnea Fahnoe. But Prospect scored 5 of the final 6 points, capped by Alex Uemura's match-ending ace.
"I'm really proud of the seniors," Gerber added. "And everyone got to play and did a nice job as we had to change our offense."