Girls Volleyball: West Aurora wins DuPage Valley title outright

Story Image Glenbard East's Brittany Peters spikes the ball while being defended by West Aurora's Nerissa Vogt (5) and Kaitlyn Richter in Aurora on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012. | Mike Mantucca ~ For Sun-Times Media
Story Image

In the final home match of her extraordinary four-year varsity career, it was fitting the ball was in West Aurora senior Lauren Carlini’s hands at the end of Thursday’s DuPage Valley Conference match against Glenbard East.

Carlini served the final three points with her devastating jump serve to put the finishing touches on a 25-6, 25-18 win and cap a second straight DVC title, this one of the outright variety after sharing the crown with Naperville North last year.

Carlini put down a back-row kill to make it 24-18 and then appropriately ended her home career with an ace before being bombarded by autograph and photo requests after the match.

“I definitely did not want to miss my last serve on the West Aurora court,” Carlini said. “I just tried to keep it in. Luckily it went over and I was surprised it was an ace.”

After honoring the nine graduating seniors prior to the match, the Blackhawks (30-5, 13-1) barreled through Glenbard East (5-30) in the first set, 25-6. The second set was closer, but after taking an 18-17 lead, the Blackhawks finished with a flourish to close out the Rams.

After battling with Carlini for the past four years, Glenbard East coach Marci Maier is more than happy to see Carlini move on to her college career at Wisconsin.

“She’s been fun to watch for four years, however, don’t take this the wrong way, I’m glad to see her go,” Maier said. “I’m very glad to see her go. She’s the real deal, the whole package. She’s going to do well. We’re going to see her playing on the Big Ten Network. We’ll be watching her play and saying, ‘Hey, we played against that girl.’”

Ever since Carlini was named the nation’s top player in September, the attention she has been getting from fans has increased. She posed for dozens of pictures and signed several autographs before meeting with the media after Thursday’s win.

“I’m starting to get used to it a little bit, I understand where it’s coming from,” said Carlini, who led the way with seven kills, nine assists and two aces Thursday. “At first I was like, ‘Are you sure you want my picture?’ It’s cool. I have to get used to it when I get to Wisconsin. I guess it’s good practice.”

It’s a sight that won’t be seen on West Aurora’s home court again. Carlini, the other eight seniors and the rest of the Blackhawks open play as the No. 1 seed at the Class 4A Waubonsie Valley Regional Tuesday against either Metea Valley or East Aurora.

“It’s been a phenomenal run,” West coach Kari Nicholson said of her senior class. “We’ve had Lauren on varsity for four years, so that is a whole other set of emotions. We’ve watched her grow up and get better and become the fabulous young lady that she is. We have a fabulous group of seniors that did a phenomenal job.”

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