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updated: 10/25/2012 9:52 PM

St. Charles East rallies at Schaumburg

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By Bill Esbrook
Daily Herald Correspondent

Dorothy Miller wasn't worried.

Well, maybe just a little.

The longtime teacher and coach, who also happens to be the mother of St. Charles East coach Jennie Kull and the grandmother of Saints senior Katie Kull, could only watch from the stands as East fell way behind in both games of the Schaumburg regional final.

"I was absolutely nervous," said Miller, "but I saw no reason why they couldn't pull it out and get the win."

East did just that, rallying from deficits in both games to defeat the host Saxons 25-23, 25-23 to claim a Class 4A girls regional volleyball crown.

The Saints were led in the win by Katie Kull, a senior defensive specialist who didn't seem to mind the pressure at all.

Kull, who finished with 8 digs, was pumping up her teammates with an impromptu dance on the court after a timeout late in game two with the match on the line.

"Volleyball is all about having fun," said the senior, "and I try not to let my teammates get down."

"That's her personality," said Jennie Kull of her daughter. "She loves the game, and she's blessed to have a group of great teammates -- and I'm blessed to be able to coach them."

It was a tough loss for No. 5 seed Schaumburg, which led the 2008 state champs by 6 points midway through each game and still had the upper hand in set one (23-21) and set two (22-20) only to see the Saints fight back each time.

"I'm extremely proud of the way we played," said Saxons senior Laura Desautels. "We took it to them and pushed hard on every point."

East's rally in game one began when sophomore Mikaela Mosquera scored a clutch block kill to bring the third-seeded Saints even. Then a tip from Nicole Woods (17 kills) closed out the set.

Aces from Nicole Luczynski and Erienne Barry led East (25-12) back in game two and a final spike by Woods, a 6-foot-2 senior, closed out the match.

"This is the best we've played in a long time," said Saints junior Carly Jiminez, who pitched in with 5 kills. "It felt good to see how we worked so hard and played so together.

"It was an up and down game today, but once we learned to relax and play as hard as we could, things fell into place."

Woods, a senior, added 9 digs for the Saints, while Barry had 31 assists and 2 aces and libero Anne Hughes recorded 9 digs.

Senior outside hitter Emma Johnson added 9 kills for the regional champions, who came a long way this season after opening the year by losing their first four matches.

"I wasn't that worried after opening 0-4," said Jennie Kull, "because I knew what we had. It just took awhile for the kids to find their roles. Everyone on our roster makes extremely important contributions to our success.

"I have give all the kudos in the world to Schaumburg tonight. They took it to us the entire match. For the most part we never led in either game, but we were able to finish."

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