St. Charles North dropped the first game of their boys volleyball championship match against Schaumburg with back-to-back hitting errors.
But the North Stars more than atoned for their consecutive miscues against the Saxons Saturday afternoon at the 12-team West Aurora tournament.
St. Charles North forged the equalizer in the second game and hit the Saxons with a resounding 19-3 run in the rubber game to win their first significant tournament title in program history with the 25-27, 25-18, 25-11 victory in Aurora.
“We turned it around after that first game,” said St. Charles North right-side Jack Harbaygh, whose last of 9 kills — a cross-court clean winner — ended the match.
“We’re very familiar with (Schaumburg). I wasn’t on varsity, but we played them three times last year. We have been able to match up with them well.”
Neither team led by more than 3 points in the back-and-forth opening game.
The North Stars’ Jonathan Orech, who tied Harbaygh for team hitting honors with 9 kills, forced overtime with a kill.
But the Saxons, who advanced to the championship match with a three-set thriller over Joliet West, took the first game on the North Stars’ consecutive hitting errors.
But the tone had been set for what was to follow in the final two games as St. Charles North was able to exert its will in the battle of early season undefeated clubs.
“We didn’t fix the mistakes we made the whole tournament (the final two games),” Schaumburg coach Jeff O’Brien said. “In the championship match those mistakes catch up with you.”
St. Charles North broke free from another tight second-game with an 8-2 run to take an 18-10 lead.
Pat Misiewicz had an ace late for the North Stars, who forced a third game when Kevin Beach and Zach Ziesmer had back-to-back kills.
The third game was tied at 3-3, but the North Stars (5-0) made a major statement by dominating the next 22 points.
Jimmy Vainsi had a clean ace to extend the North Stars’ run to 13-2, and the bulge was soon an impregnable 20-6 after a Beach kill.
Harbaygh followed the kill with a block for another St. Charles North point, and the North Stars’ first tournament title was soon a matter of time after a vicious Beach kill.
“I think the energy (level) went down after the first game,” said Schaumburg senior Stephen Knitter, who paced the Saxons (4-1) with 5 kills. “We came off with such a high after the first game. We settled for that first game as the championship.”
Nidhin Thomas’ 16 assists led the Saxons, who also received 3 blocks apiece from Dominic Saragaglia and Cameran Nolan.
The North Stars, who defeated Joliet Central, St. Viator and Glenbard North in straight sets to reach the finals, are 5-0 for the first time.
“I don’t think we’ve ever won a tournament before,” St. Charles North coach Todd Weimer said. “The true test (for us) comes Monday and Tuesday against Maine South and Neuqua Valley.”
St. Viator outlasted late runs by host West Aurora to capture the fifth-place match 25-20, 25-21.
The Lions (4-2) received a combined 15 kills from brothers Orrin and Ethan Wolf to turn back the Blackhawks.
“We started really slow (in pool play),” St. Viator coach Chris Boylan said. “It was our first Saturday tournament. Our seniors took charge (in wins over Geneva and West Aurora).”
West Aurora has a new look after heavy graduation losses.
“It’s a new team, new kids,” West Aurora coach Tolis Koskinaris said. “The important thing is to stay positive.
James McGrath had 25 kills and 18 blocks in the four matches to lead West Aurora (1-2-2).Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.