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updated: 4/14/2014 10:31 PM

Good start lifts Wheaton North

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By D.J. Wanberg
Daily Herald Correspondent

Yes, the Wheaton North boys volleyball team was completely dominant in Game 2 of Monday's 23-25, 25-16 and 28-26 home win over St. Charles East.

But coach John Noe said the key to the victory was the Falcons getting off to a good start.

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"The adjustment was coming into the match. No. 9 (St. Charles East's Luke Spicer) is a tough player and St. Charles East is a great team, so we knew what we were facing and we needed to come out and start right and finish strong," he said.

Noe said all five Wheaton North losses have come in three games and four of those losses came after the Falcons (8-5) won the first game.

The Saints (8-5), who went into the match after winning their own invite over the weekend, led Game 1 from the start, but the Falcons never got further away than a 5-point deficit. St. Charles East led 23-20 when Wheaton North's Jack Kirschbaum took over serving. Blocks by Hank Bowen and Sam Bedrossian pulled their team to 23-22.

Spicer, who finished the evening with 9 kills, connected on one of them to make it 24-22 before a hit by Joe Mullinger gave the Falcons the serve back and made it 24-23. But a kill by Spicer secured the win for St. Charles East.

It was all Falcons in Game 2 as a kill by Graham Clark, who led Wheaton North with 11 kills and 4 blocks, and a return error by the Saints put Wheaton North up 20-9.

"I think passing and blocking were keys. Hank had some big blocks," Clark said. "In that third set we had the mindset that we are going to have this game."

With the score tied at 24 in the final game, Bowen came up big with an ace that landed just a couple of inches from the Wheaton North bench. The Saints did not lead again after that, although they tied it twice.

"You practice and prepare. But when you stand there nervous, you swing and hope for the best," Bowen said.

A hitting error by St. Charles East put the Falcons up 27-26 and gave them the ball back and another Saints hitting error sealed the match victory.

Mullinger also had a big night for Wheaton North with 7 kills.

As for St. Charles East, coach Kate McCullagh said her team has steadily made progress. But it always wants to fine-tune its consistency.

"I talked to them about how proud of them I was. They played really well. Our consistency is something we need to continue to work on, but I know these past few weeks how stronger we've gotten mentally," she said.

Both teams are back in action Tuesday. The Saints play host to South Elgin at 5:30 p.m. and the Falcons return to their home court for a 6 p.m. match against Lake Park.

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