Girls Volleyball: Waubonsie Valley topples Joliet Catholic
By Phil Brozynski For Sun-Times Media September 9, 2013 10:14PM
Joliet Catholic's Julia Shemaitis | File photo
Updated: October 11, 2013 6:18AM
Rachel Minarick knew that Monday was her coach’s birthday, but when asked how old she was, Minarick offered a very diplomatic answer.
“Twenty-two,” Waubonsie Valley’s 6-foot-3 setter said.
Minarick was less than diplomatic toward Joliet Catholic. The Michigan State-bound senior had 13 kills, three blocks and eight assists, and sophomores Taylor Dunwell and Brooke Burling added seven and six kills, respectively, as Waubonsie Valley rocked Joliet Catholic 25-14, 25-17, in Aurora.
“That was the best present ever,” said Waubonsie Valley’s seventh-year coach Kristen Stuart, who turned 32 on Monday. “I felt going into the season that this is a year where we can have those kinds of wins. We have a really athletic team, and Rachel is a huge difference-maker.
“She obviously raises everyone’s level of play,” Stuart added of Minarick. “We were very in system the majority of the game. We had a lot of people contributing. I’m not surprised that we won, but I’m a little surprised at 25-14. But I think we were really clicking, especially in Game 1.”
After Joliet Catholic closed to within 16-13 in Set 1 on a kill by Julia Shemaitis, the Warriors (8-1) went on a 6-0 run that included five service points by libero Stephanie Tang (13 digs, ace) and kills by Burling, Katie Campbell and Dunwell.
Burling said she spent part of her day convincing classmates to come to the match.
“We wanted a big crowd,” she said. “We were recruiting people. We certainly got it (a big crowd), so we were happy.”
The crowd had plenty to cheer about in Set 2. After Joliet Catholic (7-2) sliced a 10-4 deficit to 12-11, a kill and an ace by Minarick ignited a 13-6 closing run that featured a nifty tip kill by Katie Campbell and one of four blocks by Caroline Cordes.
“Victory is sweet, for sure,” Minarick said. “We’ve played them every year since I was a freshman and lost to them continuously. We knew that they were a great team, they’ve always been a great program and they always have great hitters, great defense and ball control.
“So we really had to break it down to beat them,” she added. “Everyone played awesome.”
Lauren Hiller added 11 assists for the Warriors.
“Hitting is very satisfying,” Minarick said. “But I couldn’t be a good hitter without good sets.”
Megan Rogers led the Angels with five kills and Shemaitis added four. Mary Murphy had seven assists and Miranda Rodriguez five assists.
“(Minarick) is an awesome player,” Joliet Catholic coach Chris Scheibe said. “I kept giving the girls some directions before the game and they didn’t quite follow through with the game plan that I had in mind that I thought we could use.
“We’re young,” Scheibe added. “It’s a learning process for us this year. We haven’t seen a hitter like her (Minarick) yet this year really, so hopefully, we learn from this experience and take it with us the rest of the way.”