Hinsdale Central coach Sheralynn Kellough is as perplexed as anyone by her team's slow start in 2011. But at least the Red Devils seem to be on the path to redemption.
"I don't know ho to explain it," she said. "We're trying different lineups. But we'll keep at it and hope it comes together sooner than later."
Hinsdale Central, ranked eighth in the preseason, finished 2-3 at the Benet Invitational for the second consecutive year. But the Red Devils showed signs of turning their early season around taking York to three games in the semifinals and beating Neuqua Valley in straight sets in the third-place match.
The Red Devils led York 18-13 in the third set of their semifinal before falling 25-13, 20-25, 25-20.
"We showed more intensity, more heart against York," Kellough said. "We just can't allow teams to have eight, 10, 12-point runs against us. We need to make better decisions running our offense. But we looked like a much better team than we did Friday night."
Watching her team struggle is even harder for Kellough, who is due with twins on November 23 and has to limit her sideline activity.
"I can't get off the bench as much as I'd like," she said. "It's hard to sit there."
Rosary (4-2) was on the bubble of breaking into the top 10 in the preseason, and an early three-set loss to Huntley in its opener and Saturday's semifinal loss to Naperville North at the Plainfield North tournament will keep the Royals from breaking into the top 10.
But Rosary also showed some signs of life at Plainfield North with a 26-24, 23-25, 15-8 win over Providence in pool play and a 25-21, 25-23 win over Hinsdale South in the third-place match.
Amelia Wegman led the Royals over the weekend with 47 kills, six blocks and 23 digs. Abby Konovodoff had 99 assists, 15 kills and 12 aces, Briana Flagg added 35 kills and six aces, Kati Baki had 38 digs and three aces, and Jen Hewitt added 14 kills and six blocks.
Defending Class 2A state champion Chicago Christian has picked up where it left off last year, improving to 6-1 with its 27-25, 25-10 victory Monday over Oak Lawn.
Senior middle hitter Becky DeRuiter led the Knights against the Spartans with eight kills and eight blocks. Senior outside hitter Maggie Kamp added three kills and six digs, libero Celaine Haan had 12 digs, junior middle Emily Lindemulder had 10 aces and sophomore setter Emily Workman had 18 assists and three kills.
Chicago Christian's only loss on the young season was to 2010 3A semifinalist Payton in pool pay of the Knights' tournament last weekend.
Cary-Grove, Crystal Lake Central, Naperville Central, Hersey, Stevenson, St. Ignatius and perennial Wisconsin power Waukesha Catholic are among the teams in the field of the Jacobs tournament September 3.
Semifinals are at 12:45 p.m. and the finals are optimistically scheduled one hour later at 1:45 p.m. Pool play begins at 9:00 a.m.