WOODSTOCK – After her team’s 25-19, 25-22 Kishwaukee River Conference win over rival Woodstock North on Thursday, Woodstock girls volleyball coach Jill Rokosik was asked about her roster’s youthfulness.
Only one of seven players in the Blue Streaks’ starting lineup is a senior.
“Especially given how young our team is, our players showed incredible mental toughness in this match,” Rokosik said. “The fans from both schools really came out in full force tonight, and it seemed like we didn’t let anything faze us.”
It showed during an entertaining back-and-forth first set, which included 17 ties or lead changes. With her team ahead, 19-18, Rokosik challenged her players to finish strong during a timeout. They did, ending the set on a 6-1 run.
“Coach told us during that timeout it was time to get tough, put the pressure on them, and put them away,” Blue Streaks junior setter Sophie Wicker said. “Even though it was close almost the entire set, we were really confident in each other. We have a lot of chemistry. All the girls here are all good friends off the court in school, too. It makes a difference.”
Wicker had eight digs and seven assists.
“I don’t mind doing the little things as long as it helps my team win,” Wicker added. “I don’t need to have ‘star of the game’ next to my name or anything. That’s not what matters most.”
The second set was dominated by a pair of Woodstock’s middle blockers. Six-foot freshman Madelyn Moan (four kills, three blocks) and 6-1 junior Emma Brand (three kills, two blocks) used their size near the net to help cause
13 unforced Thunder errors.
“Me, Madelyn and Ashlynn (Drach) wanted to make it as tough as possible for Woodstock North to put balls away,” Brand said. “We felt like we did a good job of altering a lot of their shots.”
The victory allowed Woodstock
(10-5, 2-1 KRC) to reach the double-digit win mark. The Thunder (5-6, 2-2) fell a match below .500.
Brooke Amann led North with a team-high eight kills. Like Woodstock, the Thunder had plenty of youth in their lineup.
“We had three freshmen (Kamryn Butenschoen, Alyssa Wickersheim and Trinity Tillman) on the court at one point in that second set,” Thunder coach Eric Schulze said. “I thought they played outstanding. But as a team, we need to pull it together a little bit.
“After beating Richmond-Burton and Burlington Central last week, we were kind of on cloud nine. Maybe we got a bit too overconfident. It’s hard to say. But we’re working hard and will keep battling.”