Coach Mehdi El Alaoui likes what he sees. He is happy with where his girls are right now, sporting a 7-3 record in the early going of the 2014 volleyball season. Winners of six straight games through Monday, he is especially pleased with the improved play his girls have displayed in recent weeks. For perhaps the first time this season, the Knights are playing with a lot of confidence. Six straight wins will do that for a team.
A pair of sophomore transfers – Maxine Friedman (pictured left) and Katie Boehm – are leading the Knights. Friedman is the real deal. She has to be one of the DMV’s best setters. She truly knows how to distribute the ball. This sophomore sensation is an awesome all-around talent who is registering some impressive numbers to date with 50 aces, 35 kills, 58 digs and an amazing 208 assists. Boehm is also an excellent addition to the program, manning the all-important libero position for the DJO girls. Defensively, she’s as solid as they come, as her 107 receptions and 84 digs would indicate. She also has 15 aces from the service line.
Veteran Maureen Readdy is proving to be a formidable force in the middle of the Knights’ frontline, where she is performing at a high level for the O’Connell girls. The 5’8” senior is putting up some good numbers herself from her middle block position with 54 kills and 17 blocks besides nailing 10 aces through 10 games.
Others cited by Coach El Alaoui include senior McKinlee Houghland (pictured left) (29 aces, 100 receptions, 88 digs), recognized for her play on the back row, and Olivia Giaquinto (pictured below) (54 kills, 109 receptions, 50 digs), for her outstanding all-around game and skill set.
An up-and-comer for the DJO girls is yet another sophomore, Sarah Lawler (51 kills). The 5’9” soph has the potential to be very, very good. As her game evolves, so too will the Knights’ kill numbers. She has been hampered in the early going by a bad ankle, but I really believe that she is going to be a good one.
Highlights on the season include the 3-1 loss to Good Counsel. According to Coach El Alaoui, his girls outplayed the host Falcons and truly deserved to win. The effort was there. He really liked what he saw. Especially the play of senior Lexie Lucchesi, who made probably the season’s most memorable play – running down a ball to the far side and saving it after everyone in the house and on the court thought that it was a dead ball. That play ignited the Knights, as the visitors rallied to come from behind and win the second set.
Another highlight had to be the Knights’ 3-0 win at St. John’s, a game the DJO girls controlled from the outset. It was a tremendous lift for their confidence, as the teamwork, communication and determination exhibited throughout saw the Knights prevail in the end against a long-time nemesis in recent seasons... and another illustration of how far the Knights have come since a 1-3 start to the 2014 campaign.
This young contingent is looking better and better each time out. Coach El Alaoui likes what he sees. The future looks bright. Six straight wins has a way of doing that for teams. Maybe, just maybe, the future is now for the DJO girls.
This is Tommy Orndorff and that was The Week That Was.
on Thursday September 25 at 01:46PM