JOLIET – After being disappointed with a third-place finish at last weekend’s Plainfield North Invitational, Minooka’s girls volleyball team hoped to make a statement Wednesday when it played at Joliet Catholic Academy.
The Indians went out and did just that, as they got off to a quick start in both games and built leads to capture a 25-17, 25-16 nonconference victory over the Angels.
Desiree Anderson had 12 kills and
12 digs, Heidi Bonde added nine kills, and Zoey Seput had 30 assists to lead Minooka (5-1), whose only loss came against Sandburg in the semifinals at Plainfield North. The Indians return to Plainfield North on Thursday to start play in the Southwest Prairie Conference.
“We only had one service error, so that’s pretty good,” Indians coach Carrie Prosek said. “We’ve been working hard on our defense and serve-receive. We’ve had some good leads but then let up, so we’ve worked on getting the lead and keeping it going. Our goal was to have our hitting be more accurate, and we did a pretty good job of that.”
In Game 1, JCA (6-1) overcame an early 9-4 deficit to go ahead, 13-11, after back-to-back kills by Bella Ray (six kills). The Indians moved back in front, 18-16, on kills by Bonde and Jada Hampton (four kills) and closed out the set by scoring the last seven points, with Mia Alessio (26 digs) serving six points and Anderson supplying two kills.
“We were upset about losing in the semifinals of the tournament, so we wanted to come out and do better,” Anderson said. “We were working so hard and communicating better as a team today. We just have to work together. There’s no way that we would have gotten those kills without the passing and good sets. It was about keeping our serves in and playing our game.”
In the second set, Holly Kropke (four kills, 14 digs) served the first few points to put Minooka ahead for good. An ace by Anderson extended the lead to 14-6, but JCA closed to within 14-11 after a 4-0 run by Kristen Leuszler.
But the Indians finished well, as Hampton and Anderson had kills and Kropke had a block during a 4-0 closing run.
“The energy was super high, the gym was awesome, and we love that, and we worked well together,” Bonde said. “Our passers made perfect passes so that we could set great balls. We just have to play our game and let the other team make mistakes, and if we do, we could go really far because we have the energy and our communication is good.”
Other JCA leaders were Riley Hungate (four kills, 12 digs) and Ryan Hinshaw (11 assists), while Hailey Sperling added four kills for the Indians.
“We still have both of our outsides out, but we don’t want to use that as an excuse,” Angels coach Christine Scheibe said. “We did not play up to the standards that we know that we could. They are a good team, and we just didn’t come out and play our best.”