Woodridge volleyball beats Cloverleaf before quarantine

Roger Gordon
Correspondent

A rash of injuries hit the Woodridge volleyball team hard the last few weeks.

That was nothing, however, compared to what happened to the Bulldogs last week, as a member of the team tested positive for COVID-19. The entire team has been quarantined, prompting the cancellation of the rest of the season, including the postseason.

Woodridge grabbed a 25-20, 25-13, 25-6 victory at home over Metro Athletic Conference rival Cloverleaf Oct. 8.

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Woodridge finished the season with an 11-7 overall record and an 8-4 mark in the MAC, good enough for third place.

“The girls are extremely disappointed, but that’s just the world we’re living in right now. Things can change pretty quickly. It’s something we knew could happen,” Bulldogs head coach Katie Cicione said. “We had the most wins for Woodridge since 2016. Three girls set a lot of school records. I don’t think there’s anything that we’d want to change about this season.”

In the win over Cloverleaf, Cicione was happy to have all of her injured players back.

“We got back into our groove,” she said. “We were able to compete at a level that we’re used to competing at. The girls all played really well.”

Leading the way for Woodridge were senior setter Alyssa Speakman and senior outside hitter/defensive specialist Bella McBride. Speakman had 24 assists, four digs and an ace, while McBride totaled seven aces, seven kills and six digs.

“Alyssa has been playing through an injury, which has kind of been tough. She played strongly,” said Cicione. “Bella pushed some really huge points and played competitive.”

Senior outside hitter/defensive specialist Mya Lathem had nine kills, eight digs and a block.

“Mya was one of the players who came back from an injury,” Cicione said. “She’d been playing very tough before the injury. She finally found her groove again in this match. She played very consistently.”

Senior defensive specialist Sarah Abood had 10 digs, and sophomore right-side hitter Morgan Clarke hung up seven kills and a block.

“Sarah is our eyes and ears on defense. She played a very consistent serve-receive match,” said the coach. “Morgan played extremely aggressive and extremely strong. She had zero errors the entire match.”

Senior defensive specialist Jordan Ritterbeck had five aces and two digs, freshman middle hitter Hope Donnelly had five kills and two blocks and senior middle/right-side hitter Audrey Donnelly, Hope’s sister, contributed three kills and a pair of digs.

According to Cicione, despite losing several seniors to graduation, next season will have fine results.

“We have a lot of talent coming back,” she said. “Our junior varsity team finished second in our conference. There’s a lot of talent within our sophomore class and our freshman class. Anna Laczo, who will be a junior next year, had a standout season until she got hurt.

“Our seniors have been everything to our program for four years. They’ve been a vital part of our rebuilding process here at Woodridge. Our future is bright because of the tone that the seniors set.”