Athlete of the Week
Woodstock North, jr., OH
Amann had two monster games in Kishwaukee River Conference play last week. The 6-foot junior recorded 12 kills and two blocks in a 25-19, 25-19 sweep over Burlington Central. She added a season-high 19 kills and two aces in a 25-19, 26-24 loss to Johnsburg.
Editor's note: Shaw Media will host its 2019 Most Valuable Athlete Awards Night on June 12 at Northern Illinois University's Convocation Center. All Athletes of the Week are invited to sign up here.
Northwest Herald Power Rankings
1. Prairie Ridge (9-2): The Wolves came back and defeated last year's Fox Valley Conference runner-up, Huntley, 15-25, 25-23, 25-23, to stay perfect in the FVC at 7-0. Prairie Ridge split its first two matches at the Wheaton Classic, sweeping Harvest Christian and falling to Plainfield Central. They'll compete for the Silver Bracket championship this weekend.
2. Crystal Lake Central (10-1): The Tigers have won nine in a row since losing to Prairie Ridge in their second match of the season. Central defeated Huntley, 23-25, 25-19, 25-19, and Crystal Lake South, 25-13, 25-10, improving to 5-1 in the FVC. Central plays in the Mother McAuley Preview on Friday and Saturday, along with Crystal Lake South and Marian Central.
3. Huntley (6-2): The Red Raiders lost heartbreakers to Central and Prairie Ridge, both in three sets, falling to 5-2 in the FVC. Huntley faces Barrington, West Chicago and Dundee-Crown next week.
4. Cary-Grove (6-7): The Trojans are 3-3 in the FVC, splitting their past two matches. C-G fell to McHenry, 25-14, 25-18, and beat Hampshire, 25-17, 25-15. They are fourth in the FVC.
5. Hampshire (9-6-1): The Whip-Purs ended a five-match losing streak with a 25-12, 25-22 win against Streamwood. Hampshire has faced tough competition early. The Whips' six losses have come against teams with a combined record of 50-20.
Tournament champions: Marengo finished 4-1 at the Round Lake Rumble Tournament on Saturday to claim the championship. The Indians came back and beat Wheeling in their last match, 19-25, 25-16, 15-10.
The Indians also defeated Streamwood, Round Lake and Niles North. Four of Marengo's five matches went to three sets. The lone loss was to Waukegan.
Lillie Simons finished with 27 kills and 26 blocks in the tournament, Abi Vito recorded 87 assists, 12 kills and 11 aces, Hannah Ritter had 20 kills, and Hannah Faber added 17 kills and four aces.
Marengo is off to a 12-4 start, which includes a seven-match winning streak, and is four wins away from matching last season's win total (16-14).
Quick turnaround: A day after beating Huntley to remain atop the FVC standings, the Wolves were back at it again with two matches at the Wheaton Classic on Wednesday. Prairie Ridge then plays St. Charles East, followed by three tournament matches on Saturday.
Wolves coach Stefanie Otto welcomes a challenging schedule.
"We want a really difficult schedule," Otto said. "That is only going to prepare us for big games later in the season."
Big blocker: Huntley senior middle blocker Marissa Deem was a go-to hitter for coach Karen Naymola in the team's three-set loss against Crystal Lake Central, giving the Raiders a much-needed boost in an opening set victory over the Tigers.
"In those first two games, we were trying to get her the ball as much as possible," Naymola said. "Unfortunately our serve receive broke down in the end, so we kind of were forced with only one option offensively. She had a huge impact for us."
Huntley has lost back-to-back matches since a 6-0 start, but Naymola has been encouraged by her team's performances against two of the top conference contenders. She said the team had its best defensive performance against Prairie Ridge.
Against Central, she was happy to see so many players step up offensively.
"It was a great game. It's a different game on their court just like it's going to be a different game when they come on our court," Naymola said. "I think if we control the things we can control and keep our offense spread out, we're a hard time to shut down."
What to watch
Woodstock at Marengo, 6 p.m. Tuesday: Woodstock and Marengo are off to nice starts, and this figures to be an important match for positioning in the KRC standings.
Hampshire at McHenry, 6 p.m. Thursday: McHenry has won two matches in a row, including an impressive win over Cary-Grove. McHenry and Hampshire are 2-4 in the FVC.
Woodstock North at Marengo, 6 p.m. Thursday: Another important match for a pair of KRC championship hopefuls.
– Tim Froehlig contributed to this report.