Cary-Grove downs Stevenson at Jacobs
Updated: September 3, 2011 7:11PM
Cary-Grove may look a little different this season, but the results are the same.
Six-foot senior Ashley Rosch had eight kills and an ace, Melanie Jereb added four kills and three aces and rookie setter Jess Bartczyszyn added 14 assists as the Trojans defeated Stevenson 25-17, 25-16 to win the Jacobs Invitational Saturday in Algonquin.
Rosch is one of just three senior holdovers from last year’s Class 4A state runner-up. But she demonstrated Saturday that she is ready to lead Cary-Grove back to the lofty heights it enjoyed under former Player of the year Kelly Lamberti and all-area setter Colleen Smith.
“We’re still trying to work out the kinks in our serve-receive and blocking and areas like that,” Rosch said. “We’re definitely trying to come together as a team. This was only our second time playing together, so we’re just learning each other.
“It was definitely a lot of faster ball going on here today,” she added. “We played Grayslake North the other day and it was different coming in with all these faster teams. We just have to work on speeding up. But we’re getting better every single game.”
While learning her new teammates, Rosch is also learning a new position. A middle blocker throughout her high school and club career, Rosch has moved outside to provide the Trojans with more firepower from the pin.
“I’m in a new position so I’m just trying to work on different shots, on being outside and playing defense and stuff,” she said. “I love the outside. I’m definitely learning new things every single time I play, things like seeing what’s open and new shots. It’s fun.”
Cary-Grove (6-0) also got four kills and a block from 6-2 junior middle Mallory Wilczynski and two kills apiece from a pair of newcomers – 6-1 senior middle Sheila Wilhelmi and 5-11 junior Alex Larsen.
“We’re still Cary-Grove volleyball,” coach Patty Langanis said. “We’re still competitive. A lot of these girls have never been on the varsity before. As the day progressed, we started seeing more consistency, more power.
“I saw glimpses of really great volleyball from this group,” she added. “At this point of the season, we know what our weaknesses are. We’re taking steps forward. I’m happy with where we’re at. I thought it was an impressive day for us.”
Stevenson coach Tim Crow also saw glimpses from his young team, which took a game off Cary-Grove during an 18-25, 25-20, 15-12 loss in pool play.
“This last match was off,” Crow said. “Cary-Grove is a great team. Not to take anything away from them, we just didn’t play well (in the final). You have a team that’s used to winning and being successful. That’s tough to match up with twice in one day. It’s a good learning experience.”
Stevenson (5-3) did learn it could compete with the best when it stunned Waukesha (Wis.) Memorial Catholic 25-13, 27-25 in the semifinals behind senior Rachel Baader, junior outside Liza Pflugradt and 6-4 sophomore Kara Maleski.
“We’re fairly young,” Crow said. “We only have a couple of kids with varsity experience from last year’s sectional winner. This was a great weekend for us to learn a little more about ourselves and go from that.
“We have very high ceiling with this group,” he added. “I see us improving tremendously, so that’s encouraging.”
St. Ignatius (7-2) bounced back from pool play losses to Cary-Grove (25-21, 25-21) and Stevenson (25-22, 25-20) to win the Silver division. The Wolfpack barely had time to get their feet under them after the hour-and-a-half bus ride before facing Cary-Grove.
“We didn’t stay in system long enough,” St. Ignatius coach Erik Eastman said. “We got away from what we wanted to do. When we were doing and serving tough, we were rolling. We were taking control and taking our points.
“But when we weren’t, it went the other way quickly, and out here with these kinds of teams you can’t blink for five or six points like that,” he added.