Riverside Brookfield High School freshman Mackenzie Sloger has enjoyed quite a ride in her first girls volleyball season. The 5-foot-10 outside hitter is starting on varsity. She also contributed to a Metro Suburban Conference championship.
“Even when I started in tryouts, I could tell we were going to have a great year,” Sloger said. “I feel like [conference] really was a good representation of the team. We’re like a family. We just work together really well. It was [coach Caitlin Staib-Lipinski’s] main goal when we first started pre-season, too.”
With the title already clinched, the Bulldogs added the exclamation point, Oct. 11, with a 25-16, 25-9 victory at Westmont to finish 6-0.
Junior Sofia Owens (7 kills), sophomore Claire Cameron (12 assists), Sloger and senior Emily Organ (5 kills each), seniors Kelley Tyler (7 digs) and Annabel Krueger (7 assists, 4 digs) and junior Elaina Harazin (3 kills) were among key contributors for the Bulldogs (19-14).
“It’s not easy to win a conference, first of all, and then to go 6-0, we worked hard to get that,” Staib-Lipinski said.
“If you can go 6-0 in a conference, whatever conference you’re in, that’s something to be really proud of and we try to work through things during those matches.”
This year’s MSC is down to three other teams (Elmwood Park, Ridgewood and Westmont) with everyone playing each other home and away. RBHS only lost one set to second-place Elmwood Park.
They won the MSC Red Division title in 2020, when teams played each other only once. Last year, RBHS and Bishop McNamara tied for first with one loss but the MSC recognized the Irish as Red champions for winning their head-to-head match.
Organ has won a conference title in softball. She returned to the program this season after focusing on softball as a junior and verbally committing to Bradley.
“I really do love playing volleyball. It’s a totally different game than basketball, softball,” Organ said. “[Winning conference] was something definitely really special and from the beginning of the season that was one of our team goals. It was really cool to go 6-0 and winning all of our matches.”
Besides Sloger and Organ, many other Bulldogs are varsity newcomers.
“It’s really great,” Sloger said. “Starting as a freshman. I get to meet new people. I wouldn’t have known any of these people because I’m a freshman.”
The Bulldogs won their final match at Maine West’s Pumpkin Tournament, Saturday, by beating Conant 25-23, 25-21 after losing to Glenbrook South 25-12, 25-15 and Jacobs 25-18, 25-22. Senior Addie Blomgren had six kills and Sloger five aces against Conant.
In pool play, RBHS beat Addison Trail 25-19, 27-25 and lost to Batavia 25-17, 25-23. Against Addison Trail, Cameron had 19 assists and nine digs and sophomore Lucy Boyle six kills, three aces and five digs. Owens had nine kills against Batavia.
The Bulldogs lost at Downers Grove South 25-13, 25-20 Thursday.
RBHS is the No. 10 seed in the Class 4A Hinsdale Central Sectional. The Bulldogs open Lyons Township Regional play against No. 6 Downers Grove North at 7 p.m., Oct. 24.