Prairie Ridge on the upswing after winning Silver bracket at Wheaton

How good was Prairie Ridge at the Wheaton Classic last week?

The Wolves lost only one match – to eventual champion Marist – and defeated Rosary (13-25, 25-12, 25-13), Naperville Central (31-29, 25-17) and Plainfield Central (25-18, 25-18) and 6-foot-5 sophomore Taylor Landfair on Saturday to win the Silver division.

“I thought this was a really good day for us,” Prairie Ridge coach Stefanie Otto said. “They played steady, they had better ball control than what we’ve had, and they served aggressively.”

Five-foot-9 junior middle blocker Maddie McGuire led Prairie Ridge (9-3) against Plainfield Central with 8 kills and 4 blocks. Junior setter Jayden Otto had 15 assists and 2 aces, Mackenzie Garis had 19 digs and 5 aces and 6-3 outside hitter Erin McNeil added 4 kills and an ace.

“When we played Marist on Wednesday our blocking was atrocious,” Otto said. “I know they move everything really fast, but we picked up on that and did a little bit better job on that, too. That helps keep us in system a little more and helps our defense.”

Tuesday, Prairie Ridge returns to Fox Valley Conference play on the road against unbeaten Huntley. The Wolves sit at 5-2 in conference play with their losses to Crystal Lake Central and Cary-Grove.

“We did not play that well against Central,” Otto said. “The first set wasn’t bad. The second set the wheels fell off.”

Otto hopes that some subtle changes that she made in her lineup Saturday will pay off against Huntley.

“I hope it will help just with the overall dimension of how things flow on the court,” she said. “We’ll see.”

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St. Ignatius coach Erik Eastman will go for career win No. 300 this week when the Wolfpack plays at Loyola on Tuesday and hosts Fenwick on Thursday.

“it’s not as big as some of the legends in the state, but 300 wins was one of my goals when I took over the program in 2005,” Eastman said.

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At 12-4, Lincoln Way-Central is off to one of its best starts in recent years.  Team leaders include Cassidy Wyman (62 kills, 26 aces, 146 assists), Kylie Kulinski (72 kills, 25 aces, 128 assists), Layne Stevens (64 kills, 17 blocks) and Lucy Chesla (111 digs).

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Neuqua Valley rebounded from the loss of three-year starting setter and rightside hitter Maris Mayhew to win the Bronze division at last weekend’s Wheaton Classic.

Mayhew broke her hand during a blocking drill at the end of the team’s practice on Friday.

“This adversity created an opportunity for the Wildcats to rise up and unite as a team even more than ever before,” coach Kelley Simon said.

Neuqua Valley (9-5) finished third in pool play after losing to both Geneva and Rosary on Wednesday night. The Wildcats defeated Wheaton Warrenville South’s junior varsity, Downers Grove South and Harvest Christian in two games each Saturday to win the Bronze.

Senior outside hitter Shannon Skryd led Neuqua Valley with 24 kills, 6 blocks and 8 digs Saturday, while Rachel Pu and Karly Miller shared setting duties in Mayhew’s absence and contributed 40 and 24 assists, respectively.

“The progress that was made this past week will contribute to enabling the Wildcats to have the confidence they need to remain united at the Waubonsie Valley Warrior Blast next weekend,” Simon said.

Neuqua Valley visits Naperville Central in DuPage Valley Conference play Tuesday.

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