Girls volleyball: Mather leads Prospect by Rolling Meadows
A few weeks before the season began, Prospect's Cam Mather wondered if she'd even be able to participate in the girls volleyball season.
The senior outside hitter tore three ligaments in her right ankle during preseason practice.
"I was a little concerned if I was going to get on the court my senior year," said the co-captain.
Mather was the only Knight never to leave the court in her team's Mid-Suburban League East opener on Tuesday night at the Jean Walker Field House.
When she put down the match-winner off a dig by libero Kathyn Keehn and set from co-captain Rachel Keil, the Knights had secured a 25-19, 25-16 triumph over visiting Rolling Meadows.
"I took some time off for (rehab) and I'm so happy to be back with my teammates," said Mather, who played her first game as a hitter last Friday at Niles West." I did a lot of physical therapy. The trainers here at Prospect are awesome. I spent a lot of time re-strengthening. It was frustrating but I'm so glad to be back."
Mather was among the Knights' leaders in kills with 5, taking her cues from setters Keil and Lauren Mueller, who served the Knights to an 8-0 start in Set 1. She delivered 2 aces while getting 2 kills apiece from seniors Julia Wydro and Lauren Wiley, one from junior Lally Coleman and a block from Wydro.
"We came out serving aggressively and got them out of their system," said Prospect coach Laura Gerber. "That made it much easier to get blocks and we got contributions across the board in that area (from Wydro, Wiley, Kaela Salehzadeh, Mather and Coleman). They did a great job."
Mueller's back set to Wiley for a kill gave Prospect a 17-5 lead in the first set.
Meadows (3-11, 0-1), with 4 straight service points from setter Maddie Zera, got as close as 21-15.
Zera made a nice fist save to set up Nicole Dimova's kill and freshman Lucy Pufundt followed with a kill to give Meadows a 2-0 lead in the second set.
It was tied at 8-8 when Prospect went ahead for good on a kill by Coleman.
A service point by Pufundt got Meadows to within 15-11 but Prospect scored 10 of the next 15 points to notch the triumph.
Pufundt helped lead the Mustangs' attack with 6 kills.
"Lucy goes up, gets behind the ball, and swings and makes those tough plays look kind of easy sometimes'' said Meadows coach Katie Nickle. "My middles (juniors Linnea Fahnoe and Charlotte Errico) were really trying and made some nice plays. Jessica McShane (senior who transferred in from out of state two years ago)) did a really nice job on defense and passing, too. She hasn't been playing back row so far and did a really nice job there today. She picked up some tough balls."
Prospect won its fifth straight match, improving to 6-4 and 1-0.
"Our goal is to win the East," Gerber said. "So we just need to keep progressing. We are working our way there.
"It's great to have Cam back playing all-around. Shelby Hiskes (junior) would also be out there playing all-around, too, but unfortunately she is out right now (ankle injury suffered at the Niles North tourney last weekend)."
"I love being out there on the court with my teammates," Mather said about playing the entire match. "It's exciting. The key to this win was not letting up, staying aggressive and playing as a team."