Girls volleyball: Naperville Central handles West Aurora
With a key DuPage Valley match coming up Thursday night, Naperville Central could be excused for looking ahead when it traveled to West Aurora on Wednesday.
Instead, the Redhawks clicked on all phases. They dug one shot after another, put up a consistent block, and rode the powerful swings of Giorgia Cavalleri, Kaitlyn Skowronski and Kate Jennings for a 25-10, 25-19 victory.
Naperville Central improved to 8-1 with the win. Now comes a chance to avenge the only loss Thursday against Naperville North, and also tie for the DVC lead.
"We did look at today as a chance to play a good team and get ready for another really good team tomorrow," Redhawks coach Bri Isaacson said. "We're excited to get Naperville North at our place and hopefully it will be a really good match. I think we're better now but I'm certain they are better too."
Naperville Central never trailed in the opening set. Up 8-5, the Redhawks broke the set open with an 11-point service run from 6-foot-1 middle Kenzie Brower.
Rachel Chalkey and Olivia Gallegos had blocks in the stretch while Cavalleri put down a pair of kills.
"It was kind of hard to find holes at some points but I think we just focused on running a faster offense and putting the ball where they weren't so we could get them out of system," said Cavalleri, who will play next year at Long Island. "We're used to seeing the same teams so it was nice and refreshing to see some new competition, and they are good, too."
West Aurora (9-4) played a much better second set, leading early at 6-3 on a blast by 6-foot-2 senior Choley Myers.
An ace from Jennings put the Redhawks ahead to stay at 7-6. They gradually pulled away from there, ending the match on a set from Anna Krupinski to Skowronski who found a hole in the middle of the court.
Cavalleri led Naperville Central with 8 kills, 4 digs and an ace, Jennings had 4 kills, 5 digs and an ace, Caroline Hughes chipped in 7 digs and 2 aces, and Skowronski added 6 kills, 4 digs and 2 aces.
"We knew in the first set that was uncharacteristic of West Aurora and I thought we did a nice job of maintaining steady play throughout the match and that's what you have to do against good teams," Isaacson said.
Myers, a four-year starter who just signed to play at NAIA Weber International in Florida, led both teams with 10 kills.
"Very consistent player," West Aurora coach Kevin Mortlock said. "She doesn't get rattled or get phased even as a freshman when she was out there. Pretty consistent on the outside for West Aurora for a long time now."
Mielye Hardersen added 13 assists and 4 digs for the Blackhawks, and Cara Grube totaled 13 digs.
West Aurora will play Plainfield South Thursday and then learn its seed for next week's conference tournament.
"Naperville Central has a killer defense," Mortlock said. "They are all over the place. We knew what we were getting ourselves into. They never let a ball hit the floor. They communicate really well. Great effort on every play. It's fun trying to break through their nice block, and I thought we did a good job in the second game."