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Volleyball

High school volleyball insider: Crystal Lake Central's Megan Kelly is Athlete of the Week

Athlete of the Week

Megan Kelly

Crystal Lake Central, sr., S

Kelly helped lead the Tigers to a perfect week, sweeping Cary-Grove, 26-24, 24-18, and Hampshire, 25-23, 23-12, to improve to 3-1 in the Fox Valley Conference. Central is currently in second place behind Huntley.

The 6-foot setter had six kills, seven assists, nine digs and two blocks against Cary-Grove, and seven kills, 10 assists, five blocks and seven digs against Hampshire.

Central went 5-0 at the Jacobs Invitational on Saturday, sweeping Marian Central, 25-14, 25-22, in the semifinals and Batavia, 25-20, 26-24, in the championship. Kelly recorded eight kills, nine assists, four digs and three blocks in the final, including the last point on a block.

For the tournament, she finished with 26 kills, 19 blocks, 41 assists and 21 digs.

Noteworthy

Making them go: Despite placing sixth at the Jacobs Invite, Cary-Grove coach Patty Langanis said the Trojans offense is starting to take shape. Specifically, she pointed to the play of senior Amber Olson, who had 11 kills in the team's loss to Wheaton North in the fifth-place game.

"I was really happy with Amber Olson," Langanis said. "She started to take over the games and do a lot of things as a setter to score points for us. And when she can do that, it's going to open things up.

The Trojans went 3-2 at the tournament and next have an important FVC match against Huntley.

"We were looking to win it," Langanis said of the tournament. "We're a team that all of the players have to be firing for us to compete because we don't have a lot of dominating hitters. We just weren't all on the same page at the same time, but I think we were competing with everybody, which was good to see."

Standing out: Marian Central was without one of its top hitters, junior Issy Nick, at the Jacobs Invite as Nick attended her brother's wedding. The Hurricanes still managed to go 4-2, beating Wisconsin powerhouse Waukesha Memorial Catholic, 19-25, 31-29, 25-18, and placing third.

Hurricanes coach Patty Brummond said senior outside hitter Mae Novakoski (33 kils, seven aces in five matches) and senior setter Kate Messino (79 assists, 67 digs, eight aces) both stood out this weekend. Both were named to the all-tournament team.

Marian Central won the Jacobs Invite in 2015 and 2016, but lost 10 players from last season's Class 3A state runner-up. This weekend's performance offered a promising glimpse of the team's potential, Brummond said.

"You've kind of got to come in with zero expectations because we had a tough week," Brummond said. "We lost to St. Francis, we lost to Kaneland, and just haven't been playing great. Mae is just doing really amazing, and Kate Messino is really putting it all together for us."

This week's top matches

Crystal Lake Central at McHenry

6 p.m. Tuesday

The Tigers have won their last 16 sets. McHenry is looking to bounce back from its first loss of the season against Prairie Ridge.

Huntley at Cary-Grove

6 p.m. Tuesday

Huntley is the only undefeated team in the FVC at 3-0, while the Trojans are coming off a win against Dundee-Crown.

Johnsburg at Marian Central

6 p.m. Wednesday

The Skyhawks (6-1) have won six in a row since losing their opener to Antioch. Marian Central (4-4) is coming off an impressive third-place finish at the Jacobs Invite.

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