Experience can take a team far in the postseason.
For St. Charles North's 12 seniors, it has helped pave the way to a sectional title.
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The North Stars earned the school's first appearance in the boys volleyball quarterfinals by dominating Upstate Eight Conference foe Lake Park 25-17, 25-18 in the Bartlett sectional championship Tuesday night.
"We had 12 seniors on the floor," St. Charles North coach Todd Weimer said. "They had been through this and they had the experience. They know what it is like and that goes a long, long way. It was evident tonight that we just kept going after every single ball -- that was the key."
The North Stars (30-6) were aggressive in all phases but especially at the net and from the service line. St. Charles North's strong, assertive serves kept Lake Park off balance and out of sorts. The North Stars' serving made life difficult on the Lancers (25-13), and it showed in Lake Park's struggles in its passing game.
"Serving was definitely a point of emphasis," said St. Charles North senior outside Kevin Beach, who had 6 kills and an ace. "We knew if we served well, we'd take them out of system and that was a big key. We were really aggressive with our serve."
The North Stars, who have won all four postseason matches via two-game sweeps, trailed once in the early stages of each game, but for the most part, St. Charles North was in complete control.
Pat Misiewicz, Trevor Case, Zach Ziesmer and Beach dominated at the net for the North Stars.
"Blocking is the first line of defense, and when you are on fire like we were -- it was just a great all-around team effort," Beach said.
Lake Park coach Tim Murphy, whose team defeated St. Charles North in three games during the season, gave all the credit to North Stars.
"I think they played an excellent match," Murphy said. "They came out with a lot of fight. You could tell they had 12 seniors on their roster. I told my guys not to underestimate the will of 12 seniors. They really showed it tonight -- they refused to lose."
The North Stars advance to the quarterfinals where they will meet Oak Park-River Forest at 6 p.m. Friday at Hoffman Estates High School.
"It feels great, but we're not finished yet," Beach said.
Murphy and the Lancers will return 14 of the 15 players on their roster as they move from Upstate Eight into the DuPage Valley Conference next season.
"I told the boys to remember what this feels like," Murphy said. "We want to use this as motivation to work to get back to this game next season."