The Evanston girls volleyball team is off to a strong start. They opened up the season winning their match on Sept. 2 against Northside College Prep 25-18 and 25-18. They took first place in the New Trier Tournament on Sept. 16, marking the first time in school history that the Wildkits have accomplished that feat. They also added wins against Loyola 25-19 and 25-12 on Sept. 12. They took both games in a match against Maine South on Sept. 22, with scores pf 25-21 and 25-20.
In a match against archrival New Trier on Sept. 24, the Kits won 27-25 in the first game and 25-11 in the second. By winning the match, the Kits beat the Trevians for the first time in conference play since 1993.
Coach Pam MacPherson attributes the early success of the team to the strong play of several players. “We have a solid core to our starting lineup led by senior setter Hannah Folz, senior middle blocker Chelsea Lawrence and junior right side hitter Ali Gossen.“
“Hannah has really stepped up for us this year in leadership and ability and has really been the quarterback for our team. Chelsea has proven her hard work in the off-season with a full ride scholarship to Butler University. Ali is a power hitter and probably our most rounded player and is currently being recruited heavily by many top colleges”, said MacPherson.
The younger players are also contributing to the early success of the team. The roster includes four sophomores and one freshman. “Sophomore Maddie FitzPatrick is becoming a force in the middle. Sophomore Delaney Clesen beat out both a junior and a senior for the starting libero (defensive and passing specialist in the back row) position and continues to improve. Sophomores Erika Kauffman and Mikaela McDermott, along with freshman middle blocker Casey Durham are getting great experience practicing with the varsity team and I expect each of them to be forces on the team next year,” added MacPherson.
As of Sept. 26 the Kits are 14-4 so far. “Our team last year started strong as well but (we) were not able to keep up the strength in the second half of the year. This year we will focus on improving every practice and every match. Our main goal is to go downstate for the first time in Evanston volleyball history,” said MacPherson.
In order for that to happen, the Kits must keep up their intensity that has gotten them this far and execute against Niles West tonight in Evanston. After that, the remaining home matches are against York on Oct. 3, Waukegan on Oct. 14, Maine South on Oct. 16, and Niles West on Oct. 23. On Oct. 10 the Kits will compete in the Glenbrook North Discovery Tournament. On Oct. 17, the Kits play in the Maine West Pumpkin Tournament. “The Pumpkin Tournament is one of the top tournaments in the state”, added MacPherson.
In addition to going down state, the Kits have other goals, including winning conference, which they have not done since 1987. “If we play our side of the net and stay steady but strong, we can accomplish each of these goals”, said MacPherson.