Alex Dimas shook off the sophomore nerves last season in her first year on the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences (CHSAS) varsity volleyball team.
Now in her junior year, she’s quite at home in the Cyclones’ lineup.
Rattling off a huge service run late in the second set, Dimas helped power host CHSAS to a 25-15, 25-22 nonconference victory on Sept. 4 over Evergreen Park (EP).
“This year I feel like I’m not just the sophomore up on varsity,” Dimas said. “I’m on the team and more a part of the team. We work together. We know what we’re doing, and we play together.”
With unforced errors piling up in the second set, CHSAS found itself in a late hole at 22-19.
In stepped Dimas (Beverly, Sutherland) to the service line.
As part of a 6-0 service run, Dimas’ float serve produced 2 aces and helped force 4 EP errors. Her second ace was the match-winner, a fast-dropping serve that was dug out of bounds by the Mustangs.
“After a run like that, you feel really confident,” Dimas said. “When I hit a rhythm, you feel really into the match. I’ve been working a lot on my float serve, and it worked there. I was thinking I had to have a service run. We didn’t want to risk losing and going to the third set.”
A young, talented Cyclones squad improved to 2-1 with the EP win. CHSAS beat Back of the Yards and lost to Bremen.
Junior Kayleigh O’Brien led CHSAS against EP, finishing with 4 kills and 4 aces. Also contributing were Lauren Stallard (12 assists), Britni Reardon (3 kills), Sara Glover (3 kills) and Rylee Migliore (6 digs).
O’Brien (Mt. Greenwood) is in her first varsity season.
“There were some nerves, yeah, because varsity is obviously harder,” O’Brien said. “But it wasn’t a lot of nerves because I’m just excited to be on this team. It’s been fun.”
The 5’10” junior middle served 3 aces and blasted a kill as part of a 6-0 Cyclones run in the first set. CHSAS went up 14-5 following O’Brien’s run and never looked back.
“Our offense has been great. We’re really strong,” O’Brien said. “I feel very comfortable hitting because I’m comfortable with my setter, Lauren. We’ve got it down pat, so I’m feeling pretty good hitting.”
Leading the Mustangs were freshman Maggie Tracy (5 kills, 2 aces), junior Heidi Burke (3 kills), sophomore Mya Granados (10 assists, 2 aces) and freshman Dora Cihocki (block, kill).
Tracy is one of three freshmen on the roster for a young EP squad looking to find its rhythm early in the season.
After a shaky match against Oak Forest on Aug. 30 in her varsity debut, Tracy let the butterflies drift away.
“The last game, it wasn’t my best. I was really nervous against Oak Forest,” Tracy said. “The nerves kicked in again today, but by the second game, I got the hang of it and was in my groove. You get that first kill, and the nerves go away. You just play.”
Evergreen Park was without starting setter Emma Van Schaik.
Going forward, Tracy said, the Mustangs will put it back together.
“Today, we were a lot more comfortable together in the second set,” Tracy said. “We work really well together. We’ve been really close these first two games. Once we get in our groove, we can start winning.”