The St. Edward girls volleyball team boasts 5 starters and 10 total players returning compared to just three returning varsity members for nonconference host South Elgin.
Despite some scrappy play from the Storm, experience won out as the Green Wave earned a 25-17, 25-20 win on Wednesday.
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The Green Wave (4-3) showed its depth up front as Shannon Igielski recorded a game-high 10 kills, Katie Swanson provided 8 and both Cecile Rapp and Megan Barth finished with 3.
"Our front row is a lot taller this year, and they're more athletic," said St. Edward coach Jaime Dovichi. "We can run more stuff and get more people involved in our offense."
The Storm (0-2) opened the match with a 2-0 lead after a Renee Rush kill and an Ashley Oandasan ace, but Igielski tallied 4 of her 5 Game 1 kills during an 8-1 run which gave the Green Wave an 8-3 lead.
South Elgin retook the lead in Game 1 after an Oandasan kill made it 10-9, but that was the last lead of the night for the Storm as St. Edward countered with a 6-0 run including a pair of Swanson kills and a Barth ace.
"This is only our second match, so we're still fairly new to the season," Storm coach Joni Plach said. "Playing at the varsity level is a new experience for all but three of them, so they're still adjusting. I keep telling them they each have a lot of jobs to do, and they have to do their jobs every point."
St. Edward jumped to a 5-0 lead in Game 2 and never trailed in the deciding set. Swanson had an ace and Igielski a pair of kills during that run.
The Green Wave led by 18-11 before the Storm rallied to pull to 18-15 after an Adrianna Loiacono kill. South Elgin would pull no closer and St. Edward ended the match with a Mallory Gross ace.
After jumping from Class 2A to Class 3A, the Green Wave had some struggles last year. This season, St. Edward hopes some of its early-season success will continue.
"This season has been going good so far," Igielski said. "The last couple of seasons we've been known as little St. Eds and now we're hoping to be known as big St. Eds."
Gross finished with 19 assists and 4 digs for St. Edward. Allison Kruk had 20 digs, Swanson added 10 and Clara McDowell finished with 9.
Rush had 6 kills, Oandasan 4 kills and 9 digs and Jessica Donzelli 12 assists to lead the Storm.