Lake Zurich takes home North Suburban crown

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Getting contributions from all corners of the court, Lake Zurich dominated host Lakes 25-8, 25-16 Wednesday to win the North Suburban championship.

The Lake division representative has won the title match in each of the 14 years it’s been played.

This was Lakes’ third straight appearance as the Prairie champ, but the Eagles have been unable to break through.

“They wanted it more than us. Our girls came in pumped up but once Lake Zurich got on that roll, it was hard for us to snap out of it,” Lakes coach Katie Cheek said.

“If you’re playing a team that good, you can’t afford to have a slump. Lake Zurich deserved it. They played a really good game.”

The Bears (26-4) were led by Mallory Parsons, Allie McIlwain, and Mickenzie Andrews (five kills each). Andrews also served three aces, and setter Kristen Walding had 18 assists and four blocks.

Lakes (24-6) was led by Megan Behrendt (four kills).

This was Cheeks’ first year coaching on the big stage, and she has succeeded in keeping the Eagles atop their division.

“We’re just trying to keep us at the level we played at the last couple of years,” she said. “The girls have very high expectations for themselves. They’ve really bonded together, and they want to win.

“We have the Crosstown Classic this weekend. Hopefully, we can forget about this loss and move on.”

This was Lake Zurich’s second NSC title, as the Bears won it 2009.

“This is the first time winning it for everybody on this team, so it’s pretty exciting for us,” said Walding, who had a near-perfect floor game. “We’ve been playing together for a long time and that experience really helps us.

“We have great team chemistry and we bring out the best in each other.”

For his part, Lake Zurich coach Matt Aiello is already looking ahead.

“This was a nice thing to get, but it’s definitely not our motivation,” he said. “I’ll even tell the girls ‘Congratulations. Enjoy it!’ But it’s about getting better and preparing for the only season we focus on, and that’s the postseason.

“Since I took over eight years ago, that’s what we’ve talked about.

“We played pretty clean today,” he added. “We have a tendency to make some errors and we really limited those tonight. We played with a nice, patient confidence. When we play clean volleyball, we’re as good as anyone in Illinois. But we still have to show up and we still have to play.”

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