Most teams start their strongest players at their strongest positions.
Not Debbie Klock.
The Sycamore coach starts her weakest rotation so that her players are forced to improve in their poorest spots.
“You’re only as strong as your weakest rotation,” Klock said. “If we start in our weakest rotation and know that’s our weakest, we’re going to fight it, fight it, fight it, fight it.”
Klock did the same thing when her team made the IHSA Class 3A semifinals in 2007.
She may switch her rotations late in the season, or she may not.
“Either that, or it’s going to become our No. 1 [rotation],” Klock said. “That’s what we hope, because the others are always easy.”
The early part of the season was tough for the Hiawatha volleyball team.
With a new head coach in place, the Hawks lost their first four matches of the season.
“Each game, we’ve been having some inconsistencies,” coach Jenna Araujo said. “One game, we’ll serve well and another game, we won’t serve well. One game, we’ll struggle to get tipped balls, the next game, we’ll struggle. It was always just something a little bit different that we needed to work on.”
But the veteran group has shown signs of life in the last two matches.
Hiawatha, which has eight seniors, beat Mooseheart before sweeping Leland-Earlville in its Little Ten Conference opener.
“We’ve been improving every game, and they really started coming together [last week],” Araujo said. “I think it’s going to be a promising season where they continue to get a lot better.”
DeKalb strives for serve-receive improvements
The DeKalb volleyball team was thrown off in the first game of Tuesday’s 20-25, 29-27, 25-20 win over Sycamore.
Coach Ben Fisher, though, didn’t blame difficulties with staying in-system on youth.
“We need to be better in serve-receive,” coach Ben Fisher said. “We have enough ability to stay in-system and control the volleyball, I just didn’t think we did a very good job of it [on Tuesday].”
Fisher stayed calm during the rough set, and he thinks that helped his players.
“I was confident in the game plan that we put together,” Fisher said. “I know that if I can remain calm, they can remain calm, and I try to do that all the time.”
VIEWS: Genoa-Kingston, Sycamore not there yet
Genoa-Kingston and Sycamore took parallel paths into the 2012 season.
The Cogs and Spartans returned talent after struggling last season, and both had high hopes for 2012.
But after making marked improvements during the early goings of the season, both teams realized this week they’re not quite where they want to be in games that qualify as benchmarks.
G-K libero Olivia Cotton said her team was overexcited early in a 25-11, 25-22 loss to Burlington Central this week.
Sycamore coach Debbie Klock leaped in the air with excitement when her team made a late push in the second game of a 20-25, 29-27, 25-20 loss to DeKalb on Tuesday, but she said afterward there still are a few things her team needs to fix.
G-K desperately wants to show they can beat a team like Burlington Central, who the Cogs haven’t beaten during coach Keith Foster’s four years coaching the program. Sycamore thinks this is the year it will overtake DeKalb, a team the Spartans have lost five straight after Klock won her first 25 matchups against the Barbs.
For now, those teams aren’t quite there.
Coincidentally, Sycamore plays at DeKalb on Oct. 4, the same day G-K heads to Burlington Central.
On that day we’ll see if each team has reached its goal.
Sycamore, senior, setter
Garbes wreaked havoc on DeKalb’s defense Tuesday. DeKalb coach Ben Fisher said Garbes threw his team off its game in the first set of the Barbs’ win over the Spartans. Fisher added that Garbes was the best setter his team has seen this season.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
DeKalb at Kaneland , 6 p.m., Thursday
After winning at Sycamore, the Barbs could take the early inside track to a Northern Illinois Big 12 East championship.
Genoa-Kingston at the G-K Invite, 8 a.m., Saturday
With a much-improved group, the Cogs hope to take their home invitational.
1. DeKalb (16-3, 1-0, Northern Illinois Big 12 East)
The Barbs beat their biggest rival, Sycamore, in three sets on Tuesday to show they’re still the one of the toughest teams in the NI Big 12 East.
2. Kaneland (10-4, 0-1 NI Big 12 East)
The Knights lost their NI Big 12 East opener to Morris.
3. Sycamore (5-4, 0-1 NI Big 12 East)
The Spartans thought they had enough to beat DeKalb on Tuesday, but fell in three games.
4. Genoa-Kingston (6-4, 2-1 Big Northern Conference East Division)
The Cogs lost a tough game to Burlington Central on Monday.
5. Hiawatha (2-4, 1-0 LTC)
Things are coming together for Hiawatha, which swept Leland-Earlville on Tuesday for its second consecutive win.
6. Hinckley-Big Rock (5-6, 1-1 Little Ten Conference)
The Royals knocked off Somonauk after losing to Leland-Earlville last Thursday.
7. Indian Creek (2-3, 0-2 Little Ten Conference)
The Timberwolves lost a heartbreaking three-game match to Leland-Earlville on Tuesday.