Glenbrook North’s middle attack tough to block

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GLENVIEW — When you watch the Glenbrook North girls volleyball team run its offense, it takes very little time to realize where senior setter Caitrin Holohan wants to pass the ball.

The Spartans’ middle hitters — seniors Leah Reinfranck and Lauren Emmert — have been the focal point of the offense during the opening weeks of this season. They had 25 attack attempts in the team’s 25-21, 25-17 victory over Glenbrook South on Sept. 11, and they finished with eight kills apiece.

The Titans, like many teams Glenbrook North has faced, knew the strength of their opponent. It’s the speed of the Spartans’ offense, however, which has helped Reinfranck and Emmert — last year’s co-Player of the Year in the CSL North — remain effective.

“A middle attack, if you’ve got two middles that can move the ball, happens so fast that the timing on the block has to be perfect,” Glenbrook North coach Chris Cooper said. “A lot of our kills (against Glenbrook South) weren’t ones that went straight down, they were ones that hit the block and bounced off of them. Again, it’s just really hard for them to time it because it is such a quick play. (Opponents) have been trying to stop us, but luckily we’ve been able to stay aggressive with it.”

This is the second consecutive season Holohan, Reinfranck and Emmert have started for the Spartans. Cooper said the experience they have together has led to the offense running even faster this season, which has helped the team’s middle hitters stay potent.

He added that the variety of shots Reinfranck and Emmert hit — they can hit with power and finesse, they can hit both behind the setter and in front of the setter, and they move well laterally when using a slide approach — helps keep the offense unpredictable. It also gives Holohan the confidence to set them regularly.

“They’re our strongest hitters, so we try to let them hit on almost every point because they usually score,” Holohan said. “A lot of teams put up double, sometimes triple blocks on us. Somehow they seem to always hit around it.”

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