With Lemont and T.F. South still on the schedule, Tinley Park coach Lee Rucinski is confident the Titans still can be a late-season surprise in the South Suburban Blue.
The Titans (11-11-1, 5-2) finished third Saturday in the 16-team Reed-Custer Invitational. Lindsay Lannen was the hitting star (52 kills) and Kasey Nolan (53 assists) a standout setter during the tournament, but in general Tinley Park is all about spreading the wealth.
Nolan and Marieh Wodka have been an effective 1-2 combination in running the 6-2 offense. The kill numbers bear out their ability to work the ball around, with Lannen (121), Molly Brennan (119) and Sam Alberto (107) all in triple digits.
“Molly and Lindsay both have improved greatly over the past three years and have led the turning around of the Tinley program,” Rucinski said. “Sam has really made great strides over the past year and is definitely the most mentally tough player on the team.
“When Lannen is in the front row, she gets any of the good passes and sometimes forced bad passes. She puts away almost any set that comes to her.”
Katie Kopecky leads the Titans defense with 174 digs in 23 matches.
Marist put a recent rough patch in the rear-view mirror with a three-set victory Thursday over Nazareth and a solid showing at the Rich East Invitational. The RedHawks were 4-1, beating Downers South, Lincoln-Way East and Providence before taking third place with a 25-15, 25-23 win over Lincoln-Way Central.
Molly Mayo had 26 assists against Central, none more critical than those during a 3-0 run at the end of Game 2 in which Meg Ryan put down one kill and Lizzie Zaleski two.
Central rallied from a 24-20 deficit to get to within one, but the RedHawks held on.
“We lost to them at regionals last year so there was a little bit of redemption here,” Mayo said with a smile. “Winning third place is still good, especially in such a good tournament.”
Player of the Week
Kelsey Clark, of Mother McAuley, is the SouthtownStar Girls Volleyball Player of the Week.
Clark, a junior middle blocker/right-side hitter, had eight kills as McAuley beat Wheaton St. Francis 25-20, 25-22 in the title match at the Rich East Invitational. For the week, she compiled 32 kills and 10 blocks.