LISLE – If there were any question about how good the Centennial girls' volleyball team is this season, the Chargers answered any doubters with a third-place finish in the Benet Academy Invite at Benedictine University.
"We've never finished this high," said Centennial coach Stan Bergman, after the Chargers finished 12th last year. "I believe we're a competitive team with a lot of heart."
Centennial (24-2) went 4-1 on the weekend against some of the state's best competition.
"We're talking 4A teams and with multiplier that's 3,000 students or bigger," Bergman said. "I felt very good about the tournament. They held their composure.
"They were able to stay with the pace of the matches, and we were able to compete. That's why we go up there."
Alexis Braghini was named to the all-tournament team after collecting 52 kills. Cori Harris added 45 kills. Cassie Leisner had 40 assists, and Beckie Kane led a great defensive effort with 57 digs.
"We were digging left and right," Bergman said. "I got a lot of compliments from other coaches about our defense."
The Chargers defeated Sacred Heart-Griffin 27-25, 25-22 in the first game; West Aurora 25-13, 25-16 in the second; Wheaton Academy 29-30, 25-17, 15-13 in the quarterfinals; before losing in the semifinals to eventual champion Benet Academy 25-16, 25-15. Centennial came back and defeated Lockport 29-27, 25-16 in the consolation match.
"I really believe that the competition that we've played and the route we've chosen to go has put us in a position to compete this well," Bergman said. "If they continue to improve and play as well as they have been, there are all kinds of possibilities."
Rachel Skoza was named tournament MVP and Michelle Wong was named to the all-tournament team after leading Urbana University High to a 5-0 record and the championship at the Christ Lutheran Crusader Invitational. Uni High defeated Judah Christian, Cornerstone Christian twice and won two times against Buckley Christ Lutheran, taking the championship match 25-27, 25-21, 16-14. The Crusaders' Nicole Baillie and Nikki Kaufman were named to the all-tournament team along with the Tribe's Taylor Chatterton.
Mahomet-Seymour's Daniella Bunch was named to the all-tournament team at the Chatham-Glenwood Invitational after recording 33 kills and 10 blocks. Mel Weimer had 116 assists and Greta Goddard had 72 digs for the Bulldogs, who finished fourth after winning against Fairfield and Southeast and losing to Edwardsville, Chatham-Glenwood and Rochester.
Taryn Nohmer had 17 assists and four aces in Danville's 25-12, 25-18 win against Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley. Kaitlyn Tibben and Swazie Cromwell each had eight kills.
Dani Land had 26 digs, 18 blocks and 13 kills for Georgetown-Ridge Farm (9-8, 6-5 Vermilion Valley Conference) in a 25-17, 25-27, 25-22 win against Watseka. Sydney Bailey had 20 assists for the Warriors (16-11, 3-4).
Kasey Sanders had four aces and three kills for Paxton-Buckley-Loda (12-4) in a 25-8, 25-8 win against Iroquois West.
Haley Dodd had 13 assists, Shelby Clubb had six kills and Monte Villagomez had six digs for CPCI (11-15) in a 25-23, 25-14 loss to Tri-Valley.