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Chad Grant had a good vibe about his Glenbard South volleyball team before the season even started.
The first few weeks have done nothing to change that.
The Raiders continued a fast start over the weekend, going 5-0 to win the West Aurora Invitational. Glenbard South beat Wheaton Academy 25-18, 15-25, 25-17 in the final.
That finish, on the heels of a three-game win over Providence, has Glenbard South sitting pretty at 11-1.
"We're progressing faster than I expected," Grant said. "The highs are very high right now. There are times that we can do no wrong. We have to get ride the lulls and play steady."
The Raiders started a bit slow in their first of five matches Saturday. With good reason. Many of them made the long trip to Antioch the night before for Glenbard South's football game. First match Saturday was at 8:30 a.m.
"I could tell they were tired," Grant said, "but they wouldn't admit it."
Glenbard South dug a 19-8 hole in the second game to Plainfield East. Needing a win to have a shot at the final, the Raiders stormed back to win it 27-26. Grant senses a pattern.
"We're the best team I've ever seen playing from behind," Grant noted, quickly adding "we're going to try to avoid those situations."
Passing has been huge for the Raiders, better than Grant expected. Individually, outside Kenzie Watterson was huge at West Aurora, putting down 50 kills over five matches.
"She is such a consistent, steady player and always under control — and she's still young," Grant said. "The sky is the limit for her."
Montini makes early statement:
More than any recent year, Montini is expected to be a team to be reckoned with this fall.
The first weekend out affirmed that thought.
Behind tournament MVP Monica Loftus, the Broncos knocked off Glenbard West 25-17, 25-18 to win the Wheaton Invite Labor Day weekend. Joyce Balash and Bridget Lucas also made all-tournament at Wheaton.
"It was a great way to see where we're going to be," Montini coach Steve Dowjotas said. (Glenbard West) was missing one of their best hitters because of injury, but they're a great team with or without her."
Dowjotas said that more consistent setting and serve receive has made Montini's offense all the more dangerous.
"We've had the hitters the last two years," he said. "Basically, if you make a mistake against us you're in trouble."
It's a big week ahead for the Broncos, with matches against Kaneland, Downers Grove South and Wheaton Academy.
Loftus is one girl who seems to have taken her game to another level.
"She's worked on her arm swing a lot, she's hitting higher shots over the block and she's working on hitting around angles," Dowjotas said. "Between her and Natalie on the outside, it's a pretty good combo."
Benet's Pavich out two more weeks:
Benet received some good news this past week. Senior middle Brittany Pavich, yet to play this season because of a shoulder injury, had an MRI on it that came back negative. Pavich subsequently had a cortisone shot that will keep her sidelined two more weeks, meaning she will miss the Wheaton Classic where Benet is the No. 1 seed. But she will be back.
Pavich has done conditioning work but no volleyball activities yet.
"It will be interesting to see," Benet coach Brad Baker said. "She hasn't played in a while."
Baker noted that Pavich won't be a cure for all that ails his team. The Redwings (6-1) dropped their first match on Friday to Marist 11-25, 25-19, 25-21.
"A lot of people would like to have the problems we have," Baker said, "but we're not trying to be good. We're trying to win the whole thing. We're just seeing signs of inconsistency. One match we're great, one match not.
"Offensively, we have to be better. We love playing defense and that will win a lot of matches, but when you get to those big matches you have to find ways to score points."