Girls volleyball: Naperville North's Urban wins 500th game

  • Naperville North's Paige Lauterwasser, pictured going for a kill, helped her coach Jennifer Urban win her 500th game with the Huskies.

    Naperville North's Paige Lauterwasser, pictured going for a kill, helped her coach Jennifer Urban win her 500th game with the Huskies. Steven Buyansky/for Shaw Local

 
By Gregg Voss
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 9/19/2022 12:56 PM

There's nothing like a little pressure to up the ante in a high school girls volleyball game.

Heading into the third set of the Conant Invitational on Sept. 2, Naperville North senior outside hitter Paige Lauterwasser was informed by assistant coach Nate Borancin that, should the Huskies defeat Rolling Meadows, it would be coach Jennifer Urban's 500th career victory.

 

Thus, there was plenty on the line for Lauterwasser and teammates like junior setter Leah Norris. Their response?

No problem. It took three sets, but they secured the milestone.

"When we got in the huddle, Paige informed us it would be (Urban's) 500th win," Norris recalled. "I think a lot of girls didn't know it was the 500th win, so for a lot of them it was shocking and exciting."

Added Lauterwasser, who's committed collegiately to Wyoming: "It was an intense game. It was a supercool moment to win this, and after being with her for four years, I wish 500 more for her."

Urban became head coach in 2004, two years out of college, and led the Huskies (8-2 so far this season) to a sectional championship, significant because the year prior, the team went downstate but graduated virtually all of its returnees save Lizzie Bazzetta.

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There are plenty other memories for Urban. She coached Colleen Ward, a 2007 graduate, arguably the best player produced by Naperville North, who went on to collegiate stardom at Florida and Illinois. She also coached college commits Jenn Dore (Milwaukee) and Emily Bushman (Iowa) to a sectional final in 2014.

Those are terrific reminisces, but Urban is focused on this year's prospects with players like Lauterwasser, Norris, who is a right-side and a setter due to the Huskies' 6-2 formation, and senior setter Natalie Corcoran.

"Paige has been a four-year starter for us," she said. "She is constantly working on her own game, but her main focus is how can the team be better?"

ICCP rolling:

To say IC Catholic Prep junior outside hitter Ava Falduto has been effective this season is perhaps a gross understatement.

Consider that Falduto racked up a whopping 30 kills and 20 digs in a three-set win over St. Francis on Sept. 6. She's nothing if not consistent for the Knights, who were 11-1 after a 25-7, 25-9 win over Regina Dominican on Thursday, a game in which Falduto had 10 kills and 5 digs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"She's our one of a kind, for sure," coach Nancy Kerrigan said. "She's probably one of the most naturally talented athletes I've coached."

Kerrigan said the big change for Falduto since she was a starter her freshman year has been her confidence. It's hit the roof, which is bad news for opponents.

But Falduto said she didn't do it alone.

"I think my teammates has helped me gain my confidence," she said. "They always hype me up a ton. I put in a lot of work in the winter and spring, but this confidence comes from my teammates and coaches."

Falduto isn't the only solid player ICCP boasts. Consider junior third-year setter Lucy Russ, who showed off her solid off-season with 17 assists, 4 digs and 4 service aces against Regina Dominican. Junior libero Alysa Lawton has been solid as well, with 7 digs in that game.

The Knights (14-1) lost in the sectional final last year to Montini, so the goal is to advance even further. Lawton said a tight-knit group could seal the deal.

"The chemistry on the court has helped us get this far," she said. "We rely on each other."

"Sleepers" excel for St. Charles North:

St. Charles North is another team with a bevy of talent and off to a strong start at 13-5, including a 25-15, 26-24 thriller over Wheaton North on Sept. 13.

One of the team's marquee players is freshman outside hitter Haley Burgdorf, who coach Lindsey Hawkins said has "the It factor" and no wide eyes as a first-year varsity player. Another is 6-foot-3 junior outside hitter Katie Scherer.

But what happens when teams are keying in on Burgdorf and Scherer? Hawkins calls upon The Sleepers, which include junior outside/middle Alex Bardouniotis and senior libero Karlie Custer.

"I've played both middle and right side, and in our current rotation I'm playing outside and middle," Bardouniotis said. "You have to get the points when you need them the most. I think that when we step on the court, we bring individual energy. We know we have each other's backs. That makes a difference."

That's why both Bardouniotis and Custer said the North Stars' record isn't a surprise.

"Honestly, I expected us to be doing as well as we've been," Custer said. "Everyone is all in and wants to work hard in practice I think we have bright future."

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