The La Salle-Peru volleyball team does not have one dominant hitter this season.
Instead, the Cavaliers are relying on balance by spreading the ball around to a variety of hitters and using different strategies when attacking.
L-P is strong on the right side with setters Addison Urbanski and Katie Sowers. Urbanski leads the team in kills at 2.6 per set, while Sowers puts down 1.9 per set.
Freshman Aubrey Duttlinger has made an impact on the outside with 2.1 kills per set, while junior Ava Currie has made her presence felt in the middle at 2.1 kills per set.
“Offensively, we just find ways to score,” L-P coach Mark Haberkorn said after his team’s win over Sycamore. “We don’t hit all the time. We tip, we roll, we throw. We’re a very crafty team, and as you look at our stats for kills, we’re a very balanced team. I think that’s a big key to our success on offense.
“You can’t say we go to one person all the time. We move the ball around. We make the defense adjust and move. I think that’s very important to being successful on offense. That’s what we have to do.”
Storm recognized for sportsmanship
The IHSA’s Add A. Tude X (formerly Twitter) account recognized four volleyball programs and one individual player for “sporting a winning attitude” through the first few weeks of the season, which includes respecting calls of officials, cheering positively, recognizing achievements of opposing players and thanking officials for their time and work so students can play.
Bureau Valley was one of the teams recognized along with East Peoria, Galesburg and Wheaton St. Francis. Amboy player Lexi Ketchum also was recognized.
Along with good sportsmanship, the Storm held a SIDS Night and raised $1,956 for the Aden Lamps Foundation.
Handling a larger role
Last fall, Putnam County’s Megan Wasilewski set for the Panthers in a 6-2 for the early part of the season before moving to a serving and defensive role.
This season, the senior has moved into the main setting role running a 5-1 for Putnam County.
Wasilewski has excelled, as she leads the area in assists at 7.8 per set and has helped the Panthers to an 8-5 record.
“Megan is doing awesome,” PC coach Amy bell said. “She has done so well adjusting sets to fit hitters and running the offense. I’m also super impressed with her defensive improvements.”
The Interstate 8 Conference, which is down to six teams, is strong top to bottom this fall. Every team is .500 or better.
Ottawa has the best record in the conference at 18-3 overall and 2-0 in the conference followed closely by La Salle-Peru at 14-3 overall and 2-1 in the league. The rivals will meet for the first time this season Thursday in Ottawa.
Morris is 11-5, Kaneland is 10-6, Rochelle is 10-7, and Sycamore is 7-7. The Spartans are 2-1 in conference, while Kaneland and Rochelle are each 1-1. Morris is 0-3.
Putting the ball away
Earlville’s Nevaeh Sansone has been one of the area’s most dangerous offensive weapons this season.
Sansone has put down an area-best 3.8 kills per set as she’s helped the Red Raiders to an 11-4 record.
Vaeh is always on the attack. As a team we have been able to get her the ball as much as possible. Brooklynn has been able to deliver the set right where she needs it to be. Vaeh is a strong, talented hitter. She is able to adjust and create anytime she needs to. She does a great job seeing the court and putting the ball where the defense is not at.
“Vaeh is always on the attack,” Earlville coach Tonya Scherer said. “As a team we have been able to get her the ball as much as possible. Brooklynn (Guelde) has been able to deliver the set right where she needs it to be. Vaeh is a strong, talented hitter. She is able to adjust and create anytime she needs to. She does a great job seeing the court and putting the ball where the defense is not at.”
Back and playing well
St. Bede senior Aubree Acuncius missed the majority of last season with a broken foot, but she’s back this season and playing well for the Bruins.
Acuncius, who was a varsity setter as a sophomore, is fourth in the area in assists at 6.4 per set and is tied for third in aces at 0.8 per set.
Hall went 7-24 last season in Carolyn Foster’s first season as coach at her alma mater.
The Red Devils came into the season hoping to improve that record and have already reached seven wins at 7-9-1, including four wins en route to winning the Midland tournament.
Changes working for Henry
Last season, Henry-Senachwine ran a 6-2 with Lauren Harbison and Kaitlyn Anderson both setting. This year, the Mallards moved to a 5-1 with Harbison handling the setting duties, while Anderson is playing middle hitter.
Both are doing well in their roles and have helped Henry to an 11-7 overall record and a 3-0 mark in the Tri-County Conference.
Harbison is third in the area in assists at 6.5 per set and is tied for third in the area in aces at 0.8 per set, while Anderson is third in the area in kills at 2.9 per set while also contributing 0.4 blocks, 2.8 digs and 1.8 points per set.
Queens of the court
Mendota had three players in the school’s homecoming court. Ryleigh Sondgeroth was named the homecoming queen, while Lilly Leifheit and Ana Ramirez were members of the court.
Leifheit leads the area in digs at 8.0 per set, while Ramirez is tied for the area lead in aces at 0.9 per set. Sondgeroth averages 2.5 digs per set.