After winning their second Mid-Suburban East match at Wheeling on Tuesday night, Buffalo Grove girls volleyball coach Matt Priban said the Bison are excited about their start.
"But we know it's a long road ahead," he added. "We'll make some adjustments and keep pushing forward."
The Bison made a nice adjustment in Set 3, and it allowed them to wrap up the 26-24, 23-25, 25-14 victory.
After two back-and-forth sets that ended with 2-point verdicts, Buffalo Grove had a much more comfortable road in Set 3.
Nursing a 6-4 lead, sophomore setter Marie Georgoulis (40 assists) served for 6 straight points and BG never looked back.
A pair of back-to-back kills by senior Alyssa Mills capped Georgoulis' nifty service string and gave BG a 12-4 lead.
"We were just more 'up' and more excited in Set 3," Mills said. "We were cheering and came together as a team."
Mills finished with 9 kills, behind juniors Alaina Murphy (12) and Sarah Rivera (11). Senior Mary Zawlocki added 8.
"Alyssa had a very nice match," Priban said. "She was hitting line a few times."
Both teams are now 5-5, with the Bison 2-0 in the league and Wheeling 0-2.
BG started out 0-3 this season and still does not have the services of middle blocker Bailey North (stress fracture). Priban hopes the 6-foot-1 senior can return in a few weeks.
"We started out slow this season, but now this is a good start for conference," Murphy said. "We are talking and pulling together as a team on the floor."
Wheeling pulled together after trailing 15-12 in Set 2.
The Wildcats took the lead for good at 19-8 on a kill by sophomore Deanna Kuzmanic.
A block by senior Cayla Iwaniuk and 2 errors gave the hosts a 22-18 cushion.
A tip by Iwaniouk and kill by Kuzmanic (14 assists) made it 24-20.
BG held off 1 match point with a kill by Zawlocki before a hitting error gave Wheeling the set.
But the Bison were in charge almost start to finish in Set 3.
Like Georgoulis, Lea Masciopinto also had a big serve run. The 5-8 junior registered 4 straight points to give BG a 17-7 lead.
"Lea has been doing a real nice job in the back row," Priban said. "She picks up a lot of balls that a lot of girls can't."
The Bison picked up the win when Georgoulis used a backward set to Murphy for the match-winning kill.
"Alaina has been huge for us," Priban said of the team's top attacker. "She shows up every game and put down kills. And she does a nice job passing. She's an all-around player."
Senior Sydney Keith led Wheeling with 6 kills, followed by Kuzmanic (5), Iwaniuk (4), Amanda Mullin (3) and Emily Walker (3).
Sara Kern led the back row with 14 digs while Mullin had 10 with her 11 assists.
"Our lack of energy and confidence got to us in the final set," Keith said. "And our execution lacked. We need to play all the time like we did in the first two sets."