Written by Anthony Nasella
Astros pick up five wins in opening week
Shepard had a busy week to start its 2014 volleyball season with matches last Tuesday, Wednesday and then over the weekend in the Plainfield North Crosstown Showdown.
In all, the Astros logged seven matches and came away with a 5-2 record. They finished fifth overall at Plainfield.
Shepard defeated Chicago Christian (25-15, 25-14) in its opener, Lincoln-Way Central (25-19, 16-25, 25-23) the next day and rhen improved to 4-0 by capturing three-set verdicts over Oswego (25-15, 25-20) and Crystal Lake South (24-26, 25-22, 25-21) in the Friday portion of the Plainfield tourney. Crystal Lake was fourth in Class 4A last fall.
“Crystal Lake South brought four starters back from last year — [they were] definitely a high-caliber team, a team that featured girls who are 6 foot across the board and we’re floating around the 5-7 and 5-11 range,” Astros coach Dan Grunauer said. “It was cool to see our girls outwork that team on defense and score off their high hands. Kendall [Yerkes], Abby [Graham] and Briana Haugh all did a good job at that.
“This team reads real well [and] they have great eyes for volleyball. They’re kind of in the right spot. They don’t really react; they’re already there.”
The good times ended at Lincoln-Way North’s hands on Saturday as the Phoenix ruined Shepard’s perfect start with a 25-14, 28-26 triumph. But the Astros rebounded to take down Plainfield Central (25-18, 25-17) before completing their tournament stay with a 26-24, 25-16 setback against Downers Grove South.
Grunauer admitted his girls finally “hit the gauntlet” and showed signs of fatigue versus the Mustangs.
“Downers Grove South came out of the gates hard,” he said. “Those kids can put the ball on the floor with incredible shot selection. They looked like a team from California, but I can’t complain about this [past] week.