South Elgin’s Alyssa Worden possesses the ability to do just about anything she wants on the volleyball court.
The 5-foot-10 junior outside hitter proved as much Tuesday night during her team’s thorough 25-14, 25-19 Upstate Eight Conference victory over visiting Glenbard South.
After recording six kills, an 8-0 service run and a pair of aces in the first set, Worden returned with 10 more kills and a block kill as the Storm (11-2, 3-0) held off the Raiders (3-10, 1-2) in the second set.
She saved the best for last.
Serving on match point, Worden tossed the ball high into the air, jumped and delivered a perfect shot that landed just inside the back line for her third ace of the night and exclamation mark — much to the delight of her teammates and coaches.
“Everyone was telling me to do it,” Worden said of her final serve attempt. “I do work on it at practice but not a lot. I just figured, ‘this is fun, you’ve got to go for it.’”
Worden, who finished with a match-high 17 kills, provided much more for the Storm.
“Obviously, she’s a physical presence but also mentally — she’s a big presence for the rest of the team,” said Storm coach Joni Plach. “She knows a lot about volleyball. She sees the court really well.
“It’s almost like having a mini-coach on the court. She’s communicating to the girls. That’s a skill you don’t see a lot in high school volleyball — her knowledge of the other side (of the net) and seeing their tendencies.”
South Elgin also received significant contributions from senior setter Emma Hunter (19 assists, one ace), senior middle blocker Loreal Wilson (five kills, one block, one ace), junior outside hitter Maddy Shaner (four kills) and senior libero Maggie McGough (two aces).
“This is an experienced group,” said Plach. “Four of them were on the team when we won conference a couple years ago.”
That includes Hunter, who finds herself in a different role this time around.
“This is her first year setting ever,” said Plach. “She’s a very smart volleyball player. I knew when I needed to fill the setting position that I could count on her. She’s happy to contribute to the team any way she needs to.”
Brittany Miller paced the Raiders with sox kills, while Paige Stephenson and Gianna Huerta each added two kills. Mia Lake and Helen Maurer had one ace apiece.
“They were impressive,” Raiders coach Chad Grant said of the Storm. “We did respond in the second set and came out a little stronger.
“But we struggled in serve receive, and (Alyssa) Worden is the best player we’ve seen this year.”