Girls Volleyball: Lincoln-Way Central defeats Lincoln-Way East
By Tony Baranek firstname.lastname@example.org September 19, 2013 8:14PM
Updated: October 21, 2013 2:18PM
When Lincoln-Way East beat Lincoln-Way Central in a summer league playoff match, Central’s Maria Brown wasn’t in attendance.
She had other plans.
Thursday, she had only one plan. And it spelled curtains for East.
The 5-foot-8 outside hitter was a force, especially in a close first set. All of the Knights eventually caught fire with her during a 25-22, 25-9 SouthWest Suburban crossover road victory.
Brown and Jacqueline Langer had 10 kills each, Mariel Leibovitz 25 assists, Claire Vrabec 12 service points and Toni Leitshuh eight digs for Central (4-1).
Jessica Lindsey (8 kills), Taylor Nirchi (12 assists), Macie Lawrence (14 digs) and Sarah Dobrich (6 service points) led East (2-3).
Brown missed the summer meeting because of some previously scheduled summer fun with some club teammates.
“I decided to attend the last summer concert that I could,” Brown said. “(It had been) a long season of club ... two weeks before that we had been at club nationals, and I didn’t really get to do much this summer except for volleyball.
“We had gotten the tickets two months earlier. Usually, summer league ends the Thursday before, but playoffs were Tuesday. So I explained to coach that I was just a little burned out from volleyball and needed a break, needed to do something fun.”
Central coach Kathy Sulkowski kept things in perspective.
“In the summer league; we were disappointed, and I was disappointed that she wasn’t there,” Sulkowski said. “But what matters in these situations is that we move on, we move forward. Kids are kids. I wanted her ready to go for the season, and she did just that (against East). She did an amazing job. I’m really proud of her.”
Brown came out swinging against the Griffins, landing three kills for three of Central’s first four points. Later, with the Knights trailing 15-12, she went back to back with a block and a kill. Central’s final deficit, at 20-18 was erased in part by another pair of kills by Brown.
“In summer league I knew what happened, so I was like, ‘We are killing them this time,’ ” Brown said, smiling.
Langer finished Set 1 for the Knights with consecutive kills. What ensued followed Brown’s projection.
A Leibovitz block and a blast to the ground on an East overset by Mallory Huddleston helped get Central off to a 3-0 lead. It set in motion a series of multipoint outbursts in which the Knights did just about everything right.
They were especially proficient from the service line, with Leitshuh putting down two aces in a row and Vrabec three. Langer contributed six kills and a block to the Set 2 runaway.
“I really like to focus on my jump-serve,” Vrabec said. “It is hard to pass, but I have to make sure I actually get it over the net. I got it over and was on top of it (Thursday).”