When the South Elgin boys volleyball team needs a point the ball usually goes toward Nate Marotta.
The junior finished with a match-high 19 kills Thursday, including the team's final 3 points, as the Storm beat Schaumburg, 25-22, 28-26, in a nonconference match at South Elgin.
"We know we have Nate to be able to put the ball away whenever we're in a situation, whether it's game point or the other team has run a couple points and we need a side out," Storm coach Adam Plach said. "It's good to have that. It builds the confidence in the rest of our team too knowing that that's there."
The Saxons (12-10) did not have an answer for Marotta, who swatted kills mostly from the left side but was also successful from the right side and the back row. South Elgin (11-6) trailed 19-17 in the opening game. A net violation on Schaumburg got the Storm to within one. An ace from Joe Lullo tied the game at 19-19.
Marotta had kills on the next 2 points, giving South Elgin only its second lead of the game. Another kill from Marotta gave the Storm a 24-21 lead and game point. After a Stephen Knitter kill for Schaumburg, Lullo had a back-row kill to give the Storm the opening-game victory.
"We wanted to get the energy going. We knew this was going to be a tough test for us," Marotta said. "Our chemistry is clicking right now. We're on a roll right now."
Game 2 was back and forth. Neither team led by more than two until a Marotta kill, followed by a Lullo block, gave the Storm a 21-17 lead.
The Saxons fought back and took a 22-21 lead on a Daniel Jarosz ace. That would be Schaumburg's last lead. With the game tied 25-25, a Marotta kill gave South Elgin's third match point. Knitter's kill helped the Saxons stave off match point. But Marotta had back-to-back kills on the next 2 points to give the Storm the victory.
"Our guys didn't make the adjustments we needed to," Saxons coach Jeff O'Brien said. "It really came down to us not doing the things we needed to win."
Ian Sexton added 6 kills for the Storm. Lullo finished with 4 kills and 6 digs. Jake Dinneen had 25 assists.
Knitter's 6 kills led the Saxons. Romario Rios added 3 kills. Nidhin Thomas had 15 assists.