West Aurora earns share of DVC titleWest Aurora's Lauren Carlini congratulates her teammates one by one after the Blackhawks won their game against Glenbard East High School in Lombard IL, to clinch a share of the DVC title on Thursday October 20th, 2011. Terence Guider-Shaw~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 20, 2011 8:36PM
Winning its first DuPage Valley Conference title was a long time coming for the West Aurora volleyball program. Winning the match that decided it wasn’t.
The visiting Blackhawks made quick work of Glenbard East Thursday, rolling 25-5, 25-14 to claim a share of the league championship with Naperville North, which was dismantling Glenbard North with relative ease. Both finish with 12-2 records in conference play.
“I’m really proud of them,” an emotional West coach Kari Nicholson said of her team. “At the beginning of the season they set their goal to be DVC champs and worked hard. I’m very proud of their focus and intensity.”
Naperville Central, which entered Thursday’s action at West Chicago with a share of the league lead, dropped a 26-24, 24-26, 25-23 decision.
This is the first time West has won or shared the DVC crown since joining the league in 1997, and neither Nicholson nor athletic director Andy Lutzenkirchen were sure when the Blackhawks last won a conference title. The program did claim 10 regional titles in an 11-year span from 1986-1997.
“I’m so glad we’re the ones to make it,” said senior outside hitter Kelsey Richmond, whose four straight kills in the second game extended a 9-7 lead to 13-7 and put to rest any thoughts the hosts had of making a comeback on their senior night. “Our volleyball program is so underrated, when we do well it really surprises people. I’m just so proud we’ve come this far.”
The Blackhawks (23-12) simply overwhelmed Glenbard East in the opener, bolting to a 9-3 lead, then riding the strong jump serve of junior Lauren Carlini (9 kills, 2 blocks, 5 assists) for a seven-point run that included all three of her aces in the match.
The Rams didn’t score one point off their serve in the opener.
“(West) is good and they played exceptionally well,” Glenbard East coach Marci Maier said. “We didn’t serve receive extremely well in the first set and they created a lot of errors. In the second game we played better because our serve-receive was better.”
Nicholson, who went deep into her bench, got contributions from all over the court. Richmond had six kills, Lauren Wilson put down five, Peyton McKenzie and Abriya Zeitz had three each, Kaitlyn Richter added two and even defensive specialist Analise Hanson got into the act with one kill.
Alexis McKenzie had seven assists while Leslie Martin added two assists and threw in a pair of aces.
Meghan Hanewall led the Rams (7-22, 0-14) with four kills.