Girls Volleyball: Lindsey, Nirchi a dynamic duo at Lincoln-Way East
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media October 21, 2013 9:40PM
Jessica Lindsey (left) and Taylor Nirchi (right) are both three-year varsity starters for Lincoln-Way East. | Tim O'Brien/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 23, 2013 6:35AM
Lincoln-Way East’s Jessica Lindsey was stumped.
Having played with East setter Taylor Nirchi for three-plus years, how many times had Nirchi set a ball for her?
The matches, the practices, goofing around before games, sand volleyball, it had to add up.
“Oh, my gosh, I’ve never even thought about that,” Lindsey said with a laugh after a recent match. “Thousands, just thousands of them.”
That familiarity between setter and right side hitter certainly has benefitted the Griffins over the last three years. Both Nirchi and Lindsey were brought up to the varsity as sophomores, both starting immediately.
“I wasn’t nervous at all,” Nirchi said. “The girls made me feel comfortable. The seniors were really welcoming, and we did really well that year so I think that helped to give us a confidence boost.”
The senior duo hasn’t gone anywhere since, fixtures in East’s starting lineup. Nirchi has racked up more than 1,600 assists, while Lindsey became a go-to hitter for the Griffins by her junior season.
Welcomed in as freshmen, they were off and running.
Now senior team captains, along with injured senior Kayla Currier, Nirchi and Lindsey are one of the best setter-hitter combinations in the state. Running the Griffins’ offense, Nirchi is among the area leaders in assists with 632, while also recently setting the program record for service aces.
As one of Nirchi’s primary targets, Lindsey has been a nearly unstoppable force on the attack, piling up an area-best 345 kills.
Where does the success come from? Lots and lots of court time.
“I think it’s just that we’ve played together for so long that we know what the other one is going to do on the court,” Lindsey said. “I know where she’s going to set it, where Taylor is at on the net, exactly where she’s going to be when I’m hitting.”
The season has been up and down for Lincoln-Way East, but with playoffs less than a week away, the Griffins are ready for a deep postseason run. In their two years on the varsity, East has fallen at the regional both year, losing the regional title twice.
They didn’t just promise to work as hard as they could for each other.
They pinky swore.
“You can’t break a pinky swear,” Nirchi said with a smile. “We’re just going for it. We want to finish as high as we can. This is the year. We want it. As a team, we promised each other that we would try as hard as we could, give 110 percent in every single game until the season ends.”
As for playing in college, neither senior has made a choice, but it will take some getting used to playing without the other.
“We’ll miss each other, but we’ll keep in touch,” Lindsey said.
Lincoln-Way East opens the playoffs next Tuesday against Shepard at the 4A Marist Regional.