PLAINFIELD – After not performing as well as it had hoped during the opening week of the season, Plainfield Central’s girls volleyball team looked forward to improving its play this week while hosting Lincoln-Way Central on Tuesday and at West Aurora on Thursday, the start of Southwest Prairie Conference play.
Coach Erik Vogt’s Wildcats definitely took care of the first part of this week, getting contributions from several different players and strong finishes in both sets as they claimed a 25-12, 25-17 nonconference win.
Taylor Landfair led the Wildcats (3-4) with another impressive performance, as she recorded 15 kills, a .682 hitting percentage, two blocks and six digs.
“I think all of us really came together,” Landfair said. “I feel that we have really good chemistry on and off the court. Even though we were down, 4-0, in the second set, we came back and showed the fighting spirit that we always know that we have.”
Other leaders for the Wildcats were Quiara Dunson (four aces, seven digs), Jennifer Shook (12 assists, five kills, .500 hitting percentage), Savannah Yolich, Aubree Ricketts, Cadence Cagwin and Kinsey Bakhaus.
“One thing that we emphasize in practice is getting the other team out of system so they don’t have a perfect pass, and that helps us on defense to read the hitters better,” Dunson said. “One thing that we’re really building is our chemistry, and we’re learning to trust each other.”
The Knights (4-4) trailed, 9-7, in the opening set after kills from Rachel Kolodziej, Carli Udovich and Katherine Barry, but Shook got a kill and then served four-straight points to increase the lead to 14-7.
Landfair supplied two kills to go along with an ace from Dunson to help the Wildcats take a 18-8 lead.
“We didn’t do as well as we anticipated at (Plainfield) North’s tournament,” Shook said. “So in Monday’s practice, we really focused on trying to come back together and trust each other more. How hard we’ve been practicing really showed today.”
Coach Mary Brown’s Knights (4-4), who were led by Jacalyn Kulinski (five kills), Layne Stevens (four kills), Brooklyn Condon (eight digs) and Nicole Ramirez (nine assists), hung around during the final set. They were tied at 11 and then still only trailed, 16-14, before Landfair got three kills and a block down the stretch.
“It was really nice seeing the collective group play well overall,” Vogt said. “We played a pretty clean match, and were pretty aggressive on the serving line. And anytime one of your hitters gets 15 kills and hits over .500, you know you’ll be OK.”