Chicago Christian outlasts ShepardJessica Krygsheld #9 Chicago Christian High School battles Katelyn Anderson #10 and Natalie Carberry #11 Shepard High School during varsity volleyball action Tuesday night August 23, 2011 in Palos Heights, Illinois. | Art Vassy~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 23, 2011 9:18PM
One slogan defending Class 2A champion Chicago Christian can’t use this season is “unfinished business.”
How about “Do It Again”?
“Well, we’re definitely hoping to. That was the ultimate ending,” Becky DeRuiter said after the No. 4 Knights kicked things off Tuesday with a 25-21, 25-12 victory over visiting Shepard.
Maggie Kamp, who at 6-foot-2 is the tallest on the roster for Chicago Christian, also stood tall on the court with six kills and two aces. DeRuiter and Emily Lindemulder added five kills each, and Jessica Krygsheld four as Emily Workman (12 assists) spread the ball around in her first match as the Knights’ primary setter.
Sami Bruinius and Anna Persenaire added three aces each, while Celaine Haan (9 digs), Workman (5 digs), Lindemulder (2 blocks) and DeRuiter (2 blocks) paced the defense.
Tuesday was the first time a Southland team started the season as a defending champion since Mother McAuley in 2005.
“It’s a little bit of mixed feelings,” DeRuiter said. “We have a big target on our backs right now. So people are going to definitely come out and wanting to beat us.”
Class 4A Shepard, which took another small-school powerhouse (Illiana Christian) to three games Monday, used aces by Natalie Carberry and Bree Witt and a block for kill by Jessica Chaput to race to an early 5-1 lead.
Kamp, with a three-point serving stretch and some help at the net by DeRuiter (block) and Krygsheld (kill), kept the Astros from pulling away.
It stayed close, though, well into the first game before Lindemulder broke a 16-all tie with a kill and followed it with a tip on a nice assist from Workman.
“I guess a lot of us were nervous,” Kamp said. “I didn’t really know it was 5-1 until I looked up. Then I thought, ‘Hey, we’d better bring it right now. This isn’t how state champs should play.’
“We pulled it together. It’s all a matter getting comfortable on the court again and getting comfortable with some new girls. It’s coming together nicely.”
The Knights rebounded from five service errors in Game 1 to make none in Game 2. Workman appeared much more comfortable in getting the ball to her hitters, as Christian broke open a 10-8 proposition with a 12-2 run.
Sam Ziola-Vega and Carberry finished with two kills and Chaput two blocks for Shepard.