Corinne Gajcak claimed she was lucky to drop in a few of her aces Tuesday.
Perhaps, or maybe she's just being modest.
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"Corinne's a pretty good server," confirmed her coach, Naperville North's Jennifer Urban.
There is no arguing the impact Gajcak had at the service line. The Huskies senior served 6 aces during an 8-point run to end the first set. No. 13 Naperville North never looked back in beating Metea Valley 25-18, 25-15 in Aurora.
Gajcak stepped to the line at a critical juncture in the match.
In a see-saw first set, previously unbeaten Metea Valley surged ahead 18-16 with a 4-0 run before a Gajcak kill gave Naperville North back serve.
Angela Jurek's block kill tied it 18-18, and from there Gajcak proceeded to rattle off four straight aces. Two of those weren't without a dose of good fortune, hitting the tape as they went over and dropped in. Two more Gajcak aces following an Emily Kwak kill gave the Huskies the set.
"It gave us a lot of momentum," Gajcak said, "and helped us keep it the whole match."
Metea Valley (6-1) scored the first 3 points of the second set, but the momentum was short-lived. Gajcak's kill off an overpass gave Naperville North the lead for good at 6-5.
The host Mustangs, coming off a championship at its Metea Valley Invite over the weekend, gave up 11 aces in uncharacteristically shaky serve receive.
"We're going to work on that a lot in practice," Metea coach Janine Wange said. "Naperville North has strong servers, but we're usually pretty good passers. This is not like how they normally play."
Kwak also had 3 aces for Naperville North. Urban is inclined to believe that serving will be a strength of this Huskies team.
"Keeping teams out of system is only going to make our defense better starting at the net," Urban said. "Corinne had a great run in there. We've seen a lot of success serving in our last tournament, a good number of aces this early in the season."
"I think in general serving is so important in volleyball," said Gajcak, committed to Iowa. "It is the first ball set into play, and it is the only time that we have sole control of the ball."
Jurek and Bailey O'Drobinak each had 5 kills for Naperville North, a Jurek kill giving the Huskies a commanding 12-7 lead in the second set and O'Drobinak delivering match point. Those two are two of eight girls 6 feet or taller on a huge Huskies team. Gajcak, a heavy hitter herself at 5-foot-9, loves the extra height around her.
"It's nice, helps us out blocking," Gajcak said, "and it's good for intimidation purposes as well."
"It's definitely the tallest team we've had in several years," Urban said. "We still need to work on our blocking, but we'll get there."
Kaylyn Torain had 2 kills and 3 blocks and Lexie Lobdell 4 kills for Metea Valley.
"We were just unable to bounce back from our passing errors," Wange said. "We were blocking well, we were putting the ball away pretty well, but we didn't have many opportunities to do that because we couldn't play defense and we couldn't pass."