For a couple of weeks the Indian Creek girls volleyball team struggled. The losses piled up and the results weren’t pretty.
But the Timberwolves have thrived since getting into Little Ten Conference play, posting a 4-1 record.
“That comes to our tough schedule. I think we play a tough schedule,” Indian Creek coach Stephanie Crutcher said. “The Rock Falls Tournament was pretty tough for us, playing Byron. It’s helped preparing us for the Little Ten.”
Indian Creek even played Crossroads Christian, a small school in Big Rock, which features a couple of big hitters. But the Timberwolves are reaping the benefits of their tough schedule now.
NI Big 12 East Round 2 begins: Through the first round of conference play in the Northern Illinois Big 12 East, DeKalb is a perfect 5-0. The Barbs are only one win away from matching last season’s conference total.
It’s similar to the Barbs’ starts in 2010 and 2011 when the Barbs went a combined 19-1 in conference. However, DeKalb will be on the road for three of its final five conference matches.
While DeKalb is the clear favorite, the rest of the conference is jumbled as Kaneland sits at 3-2 and Sycamore is 2-3, winning two exciting three-game matches against Yorkville and Rochelle.
VIEWS: Cogs hitting stride at right time
Genoa-Kingston started the year winning its first five matches.
Yet, despite the unbeaten start, G-K coach Keith Foster and the rest of the team knew there wasn’t a lot to be thrilled about.
After their fast start, the Cogs lost conference games to rivals Burlington Central and Richmond-Burton. They fell to DeKalb in two quick games.
“We got slapped in the face with some quick play and it really upped our level,” Foster said. “We’re prepared now and we’re playing them at their speed and we’re playing our game at their speed. It’s no longer an issue for us.”
But Foster has seen improvement in the team’s focus and ability to work together. He was especially impressed by the Cogs’ play at the Harvard tournament last weekend.
“The team chemistry is getting stronger every match,” Foster said. “Now our talent is able to finally match our chemistry and we’re playing at high level because of it.”
Rematches with Burlington Central and Richmond-Burton are certainly circled on the Cogs’ schedule. But even if the Cogs don’t come out with a Big Northern Conference East Division title, those games will have future implications as G-K is placed in the same Class 3A regional as Burlington.
Yet that match won’t take place until next Thursday and the Cogs have another match at North Boone first.
“Right now we’re not taking anything for granted and we’re not skipping steps,” Foster said. “We were coming in [against Rockford Christian] and we weren’t looking forward to Burlington or Richmond-Burton. We played like it.”
• Ross Jacobson is the sports editor of the Daily Chronicle. He can be reached via email at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @RossJacobson.
sr., OH, Hiawatha
Failla had seven kills and four aces in the Hawks’ three-game win over Mooseheart on Monday.
What to watch
Genoa-Kingston at North Boone, 6 p.m. Tuesday
Cogs are on the road for another crucial Big Northern Conference matchup.
Indian Creek, Hiawatha, Hinckley-Big Rock at Little Ten Tournament, TBA Oct. 7 to 11
All three teams looking to build some momentum in the annual conference tournament as the postseason nears.
1. DeKalb (11-2, 5-0 NI Big 12 East) – The Barbs got a big three-game win over Morris.
2. Genoa-Kingston (12-8, 5-2 Big Northern Conference East) – The Cogs are looking forward to a couple of big revenge matches.
3. Kaneland (9-10, 3-2 NI Big 12 East) – The Knights fell to Yorkville in a tough three-game loss.
4. Indian Creek (6-9, 4-1 Little Ten) – Indian Creek is getting hot in Little Ten Conference play.
5. Sycamore (6-7, 2-3 NI Big 12 East) – Spartans won nice three-game match over Rochelle on road.
6. Hinckley-Big Rock (6-5-1, 1-1 Little Ten Conference) – The Royals took first game against Indian Creek, but couldn’t hang on.
7. Hiawatha (2-13, 0-5 Little Ten) – The Hawks got their second win of season vs. Mooseheart.