Kaneland takes advantage of inexperienced RochelleKaty Dudzinski (right) of Kaneland slams the ball over Megan Glaser of Rochelle. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 22, 2011 9:15PM
MAPLE PARK — Exhale.
That’s what Kaneland volleyball coach Todd Weimer had time to do Thursday as his team played host to an inexperienced Rochelle squad that gave him the opportunity to mix and match his lineup after a difficult stretch against some of the tougher teams in the Northern Illinois Big 12 East.
It certainly wasn’t a “laugher,” but the Knights were in control throughout against the Hubs, who feature six sophomores and one freshman on the roster. Kaneland was sparked by — who else? — 6-foot-2 senior Katy Dudzinski, who put the hammer down to the tune of a game-high 11 kills in the 25-19, 25-21 victory.
Junior Lauren Banbury contributed six kills and Lyndi Scholl three kills, while setters Ashley Prost (12) and Jenny Lubic (8) combined for 20 assists and Kylie Seibert had 10 digs.
It improves the Knights’ record to 13-4 overall and 3-1 in the league while dropping Rochelle to 5-7 and 1-3.
“We kind of hit a rough spot (earlier in the week in a 25-23, 25-23 win) against Sycamore, so we were really trying to gain momentum with this game,” Dudzinski said. “I think it’s moving along. We’re getting things done. We’re winning even when we’re not at our best. You learn from every game, whether you win or lose.”
Kaneland bolted to an 11-5 lead in the opener on a Scholl kill off a set from the sophomore, Lubic. The Hubs, powered by a pair of blocks from sophomore Kara Smart, a block and a kill from 6-1 senior Casidy Ziech (6 kills, 1 block) and an ace by Smart, pulled even at 13-all.
Kaneland led 17-15 before closing out the game with an 8-4 run, the winner coming when one of the Hubs hit the ball into the net. It was their eighth hitting or passing error of the game.
“I did a lot of things different with the rotation tonight,” said Weimer, who wanted to get some more game experience for players who don’t always see as much playing time.
“I let the middles serve tonight and that’s like the first time all year I’ve done that. But I’m using a lot of subs, and in longer matches later in the year they may have to serve in a key match and I don’t want it to be the first time they’ve done it in a game.”
Kaneland came out strong in the second game and led 21-11 on an ace by Scholl, but may have gotten too relaxed. Scholl promptly followed it with a service error. Dudzinski had four such miscues and the Knights had six in the second game.
Rochelle then put together a 10-3 run to pull within 24-21 but another Hubs’ passing error sealed the decision.
“Scoreboard-wise, it was close,” Weimer said, “but there were a lot of things we were able to work on and there are things we still need to work on, especially defense.
“There were balls we didn’t go after. The girls wear knee pads for a reason. The girls wear volleyball shoes for a reason. The girls stay low on defense for a reason. What’s the point if you’re not gonna do any of those things, so we’re gonna get after it. We might not hit at all and just work on defense in practice tomorrow.”