Cary-Grove sweeps Prairie Ridge Invite
Updated: September 10, 2011 11:25PM
Cary-Grove coach Patty Langanis is still trying to figure out how her team stacks up against the better teams in the state.
Saturday at the Prairie Ridge Invitational, the Trojans stacked up just fine.
No. 6 Cary-Grove rallied from a 7-3 deficit in the second game to defeat No. 9 St. Charles East 25-18, 25-18 and compete a sweep of the six-team round-robin tournament that also featured Barrington, New Trier, Nazareth and the hosts.
“We came into this tournament with a goal to win it, but again we’re still trying to figure out where we stand and how good can we be,” Langanis said. “We need to find out if we can we handle the fast game that the opponents can bring.
“Today, we did a nice job,” she added. “We had some ups and downs, but for the most part we did what we needed to do to win the tournament. That’s important, but I think there’s lots of room for us to get better every week.”
Cary-Grove (13-0) dropped one game all day, a first-game hiccup against short-handed Nazareth. The Roadrunners, playing without star Brittany Brown (shoulder injury), surprised the Trojans early before falling 26-28, 25-12, 25-18.
“Our setter (Jess Bartczyszyn) is trying to deliver a faster ball to our outsides, (Suzy) Dorsey and (Sheila) Wilhelmi started stepping up with their blocking more than they did last weekend,” Langanis said. “Every kid on this team has to make improvements every week for us to be to be contenders later in the season.”
St. Charles East (12-3), which defeated Barrington 25-21, 26-24 in its round-robin finale, finished second in its second consecutive tournament. The Saints also lost to St. Francis in the final of the Early Bird tournament hosted by Conant.
“When we play Cary-Grove and St. Francis, it’s more of a mental match for us,” said the Saints’ outside hitter Meghan Niski. “Overall today we played very well. But what we need to do is build our mental toughness against teams like that.
“I think some of us know we can win, some of us aren’t too sure and some of say, ‘Oh, we have to beat them,’” she added. “That makes us get tighter, we get more stressed out. We have to start thinking on the positive side and think ‘Go after that ball’ instead of ‘Don’t lose.’”
Barrington (8-2), which starts four juniors and a sophomore, defeated New Trier 25-22, 25-18 for third place. Six-foot-1 junior middle Lauren Schechtman said she was a little intimidated at first going against the Trevians’ 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 front line.
“Oh, my goodness,” she said. “I struggled the first game. I think we all struggled with the block in the first game, But we found out how to hit around them. It was definitely a challenge for us. This weekend was a huge test for us.”
Nazareth coach Wayne Saunders’ team faced a even greater challenge by playing without their star, who hurt her shoulder Friday night while playing in the Lyons quad. Eight games in less than 24 hours also was a factor.
But Nazareth had the opportunity to pick up a few games after the Glenbrook North tournament was cancelled, and Saturday gave some of Saunders’ players an opportunity to step up.
“I’m pleased,” he said. “We only had two bad games, one against Cary-Grove and the second game against Barrington. We fell apart. We’re tired. Our legs are hurting. We didn’t make it easy for our setter, either. Our passing isn’t where we’d like it to be.
“But the girls are learning how to play without Brittany, which is OK,” he added. “(Sophomore) Samantha Brown stepped up, Ana (Vrhel) played really well for us. Our libero (Emily Milligan) is pretty solid. We’ll be OK.”