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updated: 8/21/2012 10:51 PM

Rosary edges Huntley in season opener

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By Steve Nichols
snichols@dailyherald.com

There were a lot of jitters. Definitely some nerves, too. And undoubtedly, some firsts.

Rosary and Huntley made their volleyball season debuts in Huntley Tuesday night, so there would be rust.

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But Huntley's Karen Liss and Rosary's Rachel Hartmann were on display coaching for the first time for their new schools, so it was an understatement of firsts to say the least.

Except for Liss -- she'll have to wait at least one more match to notch win No. 1 as a Red Raider.

Behind seniors Briana Flagg (5 kills) and Kate Stefanski (9 kills, 2 assists, 1 block), Rosary rallied to a 31-29 win in Game 1 and swept the Red Raiders with a 25-22 Game 2 win, getting Hartmann's first win at the head coaching level.

"They gave me a heart attack the very first game," Hartmann said. "It's the first for the girls, first for us (coaches), there were a lot of jitters but a great match."

Stefanski led a defensive effort at the net for the Royals, while Flagg was busy making sure her power kill was lethal, especially in Game 1, when it looked as if neither team would find a way to win.

With Huntley a point away for the win, Flagg came through with one of her power spikes to tie it at 25. It would seesaw for some time until Flagg's kill attempt went out to give Huntley a 29-28 lead.

Rosary answered right back and after Josephine Gallagher set up Erin Bowe for the kill and the lead, on the next rally, Flagg went with that aforementioned power kill for the game-winner.

"Bri kind of took it on herself and said, 'just pass the ball anywhere, just set it anywhere and I'll put it away,' " Hartmann said.

"I knew as soon as I got my groove going, then everyone was going to start feeding off that," Flagg said. "It was like, 'hey, we can kill the ball, too,' and you just can't keep feeding the same person so I started going and the rest of the teammates just took the wheel and finished them off."

Huntley controlled parts of Game 2, jumping out to a 8-4 lead on kills from Brittney Gundlach, but consistency became a problem and the Raiders lost control. Stefanski blocked and killed the Royals' way back into the lead.

"Our main goal this season is to stay consistent, and Game 1, we played consistent and then let up a couple points that changed the momentum and we couldn't regain it," Liss said.

Huntley led 21-19 after Kelsey DuWulf and Haley Ream were able to block Flagg's attempt at a kill, but Rosary rallied on Stefanski's power kill and then Flagg led one over the net for a 23-22 lead. Michaela Ping's block on Erin Lyman's kill attempt and Stefanski's block concluded matters for the win.

Rachel Shores had 9 kills for Huntley, Dewulf had 10 assists and Lyman had 9 kills in a losing cause.

Larkin d. Hoffman Estates: Olivia Kofie had 8 digs, 3 kills, 7 blocks and 2 aces and Brianna Stewart added 6 dihgs, 9 kills, 2 blocks and 2 aces to lead Larkin to a 20-25, 25-15, 25-10 season-opening win. Alyssa McGee added 17 assists, 2 aces and 4 digs for the Royals.

Westminster Christian d. Cornerstone Christian: Claire Speweik had 8 aces and 3 kills and Cara Tyrell added 5 aces to lead the Warriors to a 25-10, 25-8 nonconference win.

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