As an athlete, it often helps to have a short memory.
Rosary shook off a forgetful start with a second-game surge and fought off a late St. Charles East comeback in Game 3 to earn a 13-25, 25-11, 25-22 nonconference volleyball victory over the host Saints Monday night in St. Charles.
Senior right side Kate Stefanski and outside hitter Briana Flagg recorded 9 kills apiece to lift the Royals (4-3) to the impressive road win on the heels of last weekend's fourth-place showing at the Plainfield North Invitational.
"We had a rough weekend so I was proud of the way we played, especially in the second and third games," said Stefanski. "We had a tough time at Plainfield North but we ended with two wins. We finished strong again tonight.
"We took that from last weekend and learned from it."
St. Charles East (0-3) controlled the opening game, jumping out to leads of 13-5, 17-6 and 19-8, thanks in part to back-to-back kills from Caitlyn Ballard (6 kills, 3 digs, 1 block) and 6 consecutive service points from Nicole Woods (7 kills, 5 digs, 1 block).
"We played much better right off the bat," said Saints coach Jennie Kull. "That's a positive."
Rosary coach Rachel Hartmann felt her team seemed a bit uncomfortable in Game 1, evidenced by the Royals' numerous hitting and service errors and the Saints' 16 opening-game kills.
"I think it took us too long to adjust to what they were doing," said Hartmann. "We were not in control of ourselves in the first game. And our defense looked kind of silly at times in that first game."
Things changed dramatically for Rosary in the second game.
Senior libero Katie Baki recorded 2 of her 4 service aces during a 6-0 surge that eventually led to an 18-5 match-tying run.
"Our serving was pretty rough over the weekend," said Hartmann. "We just needed to be more aggressive."
In the third game, Rosary built leads of 14-6 and 17-9 before the Saints mounted a late rally. A tip kill from junior Carly Jimenez (6 kills, 3 assists) pulled St. Charles East within 21-19 but an untimely service error and thunderous kill by Stefanski helped spoil the Saints' comeback bid.
"It's always exciting to play in a loud gym and beat a quality team like St. Charles East," said Stefanski. "We just moved up to Class 4A this season so we want to show teams that we belong there."
Erin Bowe added 6 kills while junior setter Josephine Gallagher had 20 assists for Rosary.
"Jo (Gallagher) did a good job mixing it up," said Hartmann. "At times we've been too obvious with our offense but she did a great job making good decisions out there."
Senior setter Erienne Barry had 22 assists, 5 digs and a pair of kills for the Saints, who visit Wheaton North today in search of their first victory.
"We took a step in the right direction today," said Kull. "We won our first game. Our serving got better today. We took some baby steps.
"But our serve receive and passing broke down in the second game. When the passing breaks down, you can't run an offense. It's all part of that whole learning process. It's not what we're young but we're inexperienced."