Tony Baranek’s girls volleyball notebook

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The roller-coaster ride that has been the season for Providence found its high point Saturday, when the Celtics swept through the field to win the Oak Lawn Invitational.

With libero Cory Griffith leading the way, the Celtics beat Shepard in three games in the semifinal and came from behind in the championship match in a 17-25, 25-19, 25-15 victory over T.F. South.

The Celtics, who hovered around .500 for the first few weeks, are 11-5.

“We’ve had some tough losses, but they were against great teams so I can’t complain about that,” Celtics coach Rachel Ellingson said. “I think this will give us a little more confidence going into more conference play.”

Outsized at the net vs. T.F. South, the Celtics were able to take what they learned in Game 1 and turn it around decisively behind smart hitting by Liza Ellingson (9 kills) and Rachel Alles (8 kills).

“We were hitting into their block (in Game 1),” Rachel Ellingson said. “But then we started mixing up our shot selections to get around some of those blocks. It was a group effort (coming back) in that match.”

Sudden impact

How hard does T.F. South’s Crystal Lee hit a volleyball?

Hard enough to hurt — especially when you’re not looking.

Teammate Jordyne Miles found out Friday, when she had her back turned during warmups at the Oak Lawn Invitational and one of Lee’s spikes hit her from behind.

Miles didn’t go down and continued with warmups. When she started to develop a headache, Rebels coach Kim Sands sent her to the trainer.

“The original thing they told me was that she got hit in the back,” Sands said. “I was like, ‘Oh, OK.’ But when she started getting the headache I asked again, ‘Did she not get hit in the back?’ they were like, ‘No, she got hit in the back of the head.’ ”

The diagnosis by the trainer was that Miles suffered a mild concussion. She will be out of the lineup until at least Wednesday, according to Sands.

It’s the second time a Lee spike has given a teammate a concussion. Last season, Jenna Pasko was shagging a ball in a hitting line when she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Then, as on Friday, Lee appeared to be more upset about what happened than the victims, according to Sands.

“She always feel bad. That’s just who she is,” Sands said. “I just told her, ‘You can’t let it get in your head, you have to go out there and keep swinging away.’”

Lee helped the Rebels to a 4-1 record over the weekend and a second-place finish in the tournament.

Illiana ‘D’-etermined with Herrera

Illiana Christian has plenty of explosive offense with power hitters Sydnee VanBeek and Jamie Petrarca, but in quieter fashion libero Rachel Herrera has been a difference-maker.

Her 40 digs helped the Celtics finish second in the Silver Division at the Effingham Crossroads Classic.

Through 10 matches she has 80 digs and a 73 percent rating in perfect serve-receives. She also has 12 aces.

“Rachel is an amazing individual,” Illiana coach Nicole Van Dyke said. “She is an incredible leader on and off the court. She’s a wonderful Christian athlete.”

Player of the Week

Cory Griffith, of Providence, is the SouthtownStar Girls Volleyball Player of the week.

Griffith, a senior libero, had 40 digs in five matches, earning MVP honors as the Celtics won the Oak Lawn Invitational.

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