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Mooseheart waits, then breezes to victory in volleyball regional opener

By DARRYL MELLEMA, Associate Editor, Moose Magazine
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Mooseheart sophomore Madison Hart passes the ball during the Ramblers opening round victory in the IHSA Class 1A Luther North Regional.

Mooseheart's Jasmine Martinez sets in her team's 25-8, 25-6 victory over Islamic Foundation in the opening round of the IHSA Class 1A Luther North Regional.


CHICAGO, IL, Oct. 20 – In a world that is full of “hurry up and wait” – Mooseheart adopted a “wait and hurry up” approach to its volleyball opener in the IHSA Class 1A Luther North Regional.

After a 44-minute delay waiting for Islamic Foundation to arrive and then through warm-ups, Mooseheart dispatched the Warriors in 33 minutes in a 25-8, 25-6 match.

Matches that end that quickly are usually dominated by serving, and Mooseheart was clinical in that regard. Erin Stryker had 8 aces to go with 10 kills while Leslie Ballard and Abi Alade added 4 aces apiece as a number of points were finished very quickly.

“If you don't have a serve, you don't have a game,” Mooseheart coach Kristin Shuman said. “For us, that is our biggest weapon this year, our serves. They're all so consistently good that we can get on a run.”

Mooseheart trailed in neither set. The Ramblers jumped to a 5-0 lead in the first set, and ran that lead to 16-2 before a mini-rally by Islamic Foundation.

The second set opened closer and Mooseheart's lead stood at 4-2 before Alade took the Ramblers on a six-point serving run.

Mooseheart (2-15), coming off a seventh-place finish in the Northeastern Athletic Conference tournament had confidence heading into a match with the team it eliminated in the first round of the 2011 tournament.

“They've been playing well in the past few weeks and I think they're peaking at the right time,” Shuman said. “If we look back to the Westminster Tournament in last September, everything clicked and we found a rotation that works and we have been improving on it the rest of the season.”

Shuman is in her fifth year as Mooseheart's volleyball coach and her teams have never lost in the opening round of the postseason. The Ramblers have also not progressed past the second round – and the team has a chance to break that streak when it faces top-seeded Providence St. Mel at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

“I have told the girls that this is the year,” Shuman said. “If they want to get to that final round on Thursday, this is the team that's going to do it. They play as a team. They communicate, and they want it so bad that they will fight hard the whole way (Tuesday.)”



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