New Trier volleyball on track after taking Prairie Ridge tourney
History favors New Trier reaching the 2012 Class 4A state finals.
Beginning with Naperville Central in 2007, every team that won the Prairie Ridge round-robin tournament has advanced to the state finals. Naperville Central (2007), St. Charles East (2008) and Cary-Grove (2009) not only won at Prairie Ridge, they won it all in Normal, too.
Saturday, New Trier (12-0) rallied from a 12-7 deficit in Game Three to defeat Barrington 22-25, 25-13, 17-15 on its way to a 5-0 mark and the tournament title. It was a far cry from the Trevians’ performance in Crystal Lake only a year ago.
“We didn’t do so well here last year,” said New Trier’s Northwestern-bound junior setter Taylor Tashima. “We only won a couple of matches. This was a big redemption for us. This should show all the big teams here that we can compete with them.”
New Trier won three three-setters, defeating Prairie Ridge 22-25, 25-22, 15-12 and Crystal Lake Central 23-25, 25-20, 15-10 before ending the day with straight-set wins against Cary-Grove (25-20, 25-21) and St. Charles East (25-22, 25-15).
“This was a big step for all of players because everyone got subbed in,” Tashima said. “Everybody played their game. It was a really long day. It’s really hard on the body. But that’s what we train for. That’s what we do conditioning for.”
Barrington (6-5), which finished second in the tournament at 3-2, was the only team to have New Trier on the ropes. But a service error at 12-7 in Game Three opened the door for the Trevians to mount a furious comeback.
“When you’re receiving up 12-8 you expect to win,” Barrington coach Rob Ridenour said. “But that’s what we’ve gone through this season. We’ve gone through stretches where we played some great volleyball, and gone through stretches where we haven’t been as good.”
The Fillies rebounded from their loss to New Trier to beat Crystal Lake Central (25-22, 25-19), St. Charles East (25-22, 25-20) and Cary-Grove (25-21, 25-22). Only a 26-24, 27-25 loss to Prairie Ridge marred an otherwise big day for Barrington, which came in after struggling through a 3-3 start.
“Overall, I think we had some players step up and take some big steps forward,” Ridenour said. “(Five-foot-8 senior) Nicole Amato had a real nice tournament playing middle for us. She does all the little things right. And (5-10 junior opposite) Christy Roney had a tremendous day.”
One team that didn’t have such a great day was last year’s Class 4A runner-up and defending Prairie Ridge champion Cary-Grove (7-6), which finished 1-4 after reaching the finals of the Jacobs tournament last week.
“We definitely have some talent, we’re just trying to figure out who goes where and how we can utilize the kids that we have,” Cary-Grove coach Patty Langanis said. “Our bench is really deep, we just have to figure out who’s going to play in high-pressure situations and who’s going to respond.”
St. Charles East (9-7) also went 3-2 in the tournament after taking third at the Early Bird last week, while Prairie Ridge dropped its finale to Crystal Lake Central 25-22, 25-23 to finish 2-3 and miss grabbing a share of second place.
I’ve got some injuries on the court and certain people can’t play my favorite spots all the time,” Prairie Ridge coach Stephanie Otto said. “So when that happens, I have to mix it up. The girls might get frustrated, but win or lose doesn’t matter. I just want the girls to grow and get better.”
Meanwhile, Tashima got to check another goal off her list.
“We make a list of personal and team goals for every tournament,” she said. “Mine was to win the Summer’s End tournament and take first or second here. The next one is the Discovery tournament (at Glenbrook North). I’m hoping to check off another one.”