Tweaking the formula

By on September 13, 2013

Photo: The Kaneland girls volleyball team celebrates a point in recent action. The Lady Knights sit at 5-4 to start the season after winning Tuesday against LaSalle-Peru. File Photo

Lady Knights volleyball handles ACC, drops close sweep to Montini
KANELAND—Through eight matches in 2013, Kaneland’s new volleyball setup is still in the process of setting up.

This past week showed both highs and lows, with the new-look Lady Knights still looking to put it all together.

Kaneland was able to handle a nearby threat from the Aurora Central Catholic unit last Thursday by a final of 25-13, 25-18, and lost a competitive and tight sweep to the invading Montini Catholic unit by a 25-23, 25-21 count.

The Lady Knights also finished their three-match home swing against Northern Illinois Big XII crossover rival LaSalle-Peru on Tuesday, winning 25-15, 25-14.

Kaneland is now 5-4 through the first stretch of the season after going 5-3 a year ago.

Against the Lady Chargers, lone senior anchor Jenny Lubic paced the lineup with six kills, four digs and 17 assists. Teammate Ellie Dunn added six kills and six digs, and fellow Lady Knight Bridget Ransford supplied four kills and five service points. KHS rep Hannah Nauert also hammered home four kills in the sweep.

Facing off against Lombard, Ill., contender Montini, the Lady Knights saw stat sheet impact from Lubic (18 assists), Anna Senese (six kills) and Dunn (eight kills).

Neither team was able to get out to a comfortable lead, with the first margin of two points occurring when Montini took a 14-12 lead in game one. Montini was up 21-17 when Kaneland saw a kill from Senese to close the margin to three. A sideout and error closed the margin to 22-20, but the Lady Broncos cinched the first-game deal with aggressive front-line play and two blocks.

Able to stifle Montini’s aggressiveness, Kaneland went out to a 14-10 edge, which forced MC to call a time-out. The strategy worked with the visitors able to rattle off a 6-1 run to take a lead before a kill from McKenzie McMullan tied the score at 16. Montini’s next kill attempt gave KHS a 17-16 edge before the lead briefly switched again. Down by one, Vanessa Gould’s kill tied the game at 19. An errant dig by the Lady Broncos would eventually tie the score at 20 apiece. Down by three, a Dunn kill would eventually close the margin to 23-21 before finished off the threat.

KHS coach Kerri McCastland sees a roster still working out the kinks and solidifying execution in close games.

“We are yet to do that,” McCastland said. “We’re yet to believe that we’re that team. You’d see it for three points, then all of the sudden we’d lay down for three points and let them back in the game. I wish they’d come to believe that they are the team that they are. I really believe they are in my heart.”

Stats from Tuesday’s NIB-12 game against LaSalle-Peru were not available at press time.

Kaneland heads to the West Chicago Tournament on Saturday, Sept. 14.