West Aurora keeps pace in DVC
Updated: October 18, 2011 9:44PM
Now all they’ve got to do is hold serve, so to speak.
The West Aurora girls volleyball team swept West Chicago 25-21, 25-21 Tuesday on Senior Night and then had to wait for the outcome of the Naperville North-Naperville Central match before learning it had moved into a three-way tie for first place in the DuPage Valley Conference race. All three teams are 11-2 with one match remaining.
The Blackhawks, who are 23-12 overall, can guarantee themselves a share of the championship with a win Thursday in the regular-season finale at Glenbard East.
“That would be, oh my God,” said junior standout Lauren Carlini. “(Winning conference) has been our goal for the last two years, so just to finally achieve it would be great. We’ll see if it happens. We’re excited and nervous, also.”
They weren’t in Tuesday’s match.
It was the seniors’ night to shine, and they did – starting with middle blocker Lauren Wilson’s beautiful rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner before the match. Then coach Kari Nicholson called on some unheralded seniors who stepped up.
Carlini and fellow junior Peyton McKenzie, though, also had big roles in the win. The 6-foot-2 Carlini and 6-foot McKenzie each pounded down a match-high eight kills to lead the way.
“We’ve been working really hard on making sure we’re solid all the way through,” said Nicholson. “(Senior setter) Alexis McKenzie (14 assists) came in and played wonderful today. So did (5-5 right side hitter) Nailah Wood (two kills).
“They did great the first set and we were gonna ride it out and if we needed to make a sub we would have but they did a great job and we didn’t have to.”
The opener was tied 10-all before the Blackhawks put together a 5-2 run featuring three kills and a block from Carlini to make it 15-12. She later secured it with a smash for a kill off an Alexis McKenzie set.
“The second game we seemed to have a little trouble with our pass and when we did hit our pass, we seemed to have trouble finding the court with our hit,” said Nicholson. “When we hit the ball down, we were fine. It always helps to hit the ball where it’s supposed to be.”
Carlini did just that with the Blackhawks clinging to a 23-21 lead in the set that featured no leads of more than three points. She spiked a kill down the line off another McKenzie set and then had a block for the match-winner.
Senior outside hitter Kelsey Richmond added six kills for West, which got seven digs from Abigail Schaschwary along with six digs and 12 assists from Carlini.
“It was incredibly special,” said Wilson, who had three kills on the night. “I’ve played in this gym for three years and this school four years and to think this is my last game (here), it’s really overwhelming.”
West Chicago, which fell to 19-10 and 6-7 in the league, got four kills and a block from Andrea Skipor, three kills and two blocks from Julia Conard and a pair of kills each from Payton Bayless and Mary Kate Katarzynski.