Watch out for Plainfield Central in 2014. The Wildcats expect to lose just two seniors from a squad that upset Neuqua Valley in the semifinals before falling to Naperville North in the Class 4A Yorkville Regional championship in two tough sets. Junior outside hitter Elizabeth Hyland had a monster season for Central with 303 kills, and now has three season of varsity experience under her belt. Also look for the talented Ashley Shook, a freshman this season, to flourish running a 5-1 offense.
Taylor Nirchi and Jessica Lindsey will be sorely missed. Maybe no duo in the Joliet area meant more to their team’s success than the Lincoln-Way East seniors. While Marist did a good job neutralizing Lindsey in its two-set win in the regional title match, the senior outside hitter was a go-to attacker all season for the Griffins. As for Nirchi, it will be odd seeing someone other than the three-year starter leading East’s offense from the setting position.
Joliet Catholic is one resilient bunch. The Angels looked awful dropping the first set to Providence at the Class 3A Aurora Central Catholic Regional championship, falling 25-10. Late in the first set, Angels coach Christine Scheibe called a timeout, imploring her team “We need momentum heading into the second set.” Joliet Catholic executed down the stretch in the second, winning in the third behind Megan Rogers’ service run and dominant play at the net behind Angela Vera, Julia Shemaitis and Mary Murphy.