Hersey boys volleyball coach Nancy Lill was encouraging her players to scurry off and hit the books after Tuesday's match to prepare for their upcoming AP exams.
No worries for the Huskies -- after all, they'd just 'aced' their big Mid-Suburban East test against Prospect.
In a match that featured two teams coming in with 6-1 conference records, Hersey pounded out 10 service aces to defeat the visiting Knights 25-23, 25-22 at Ken Carter Gymnasium in Arlington Heights.
"We were serving more aggressively today, said Lill, "especially Bart (Migus), who broke out his jump-serve for the first time this season."
The 6-foot-5 junior outside hitter recorded 4 of the aces to go along with a team-high 8 kills.
"I just felt like it was the right time," said Migus, who showed a powerful jump stroke from the service line. "Teams we play are getting better throughout the season, so we've got to be more aggressive."
"I just wasn't feeling it early in the year," added the junior. "As a team we were missing a lot of serves, and if you want to go on runs you've got to get your serves in."
The Huskies' win overshadowed what Prospect coach Mike Riedy called a "great performance" from three of his seniors -- Matt McPartlin, Grant Andler and Jacob Schwister.
"I thought those three guys played the match of their careers," said Riedy. "The other three guys we had on the court couldn't keep up with them. Too many errors."
Two aces from senior Matt Torvik (3 aces overall) helped stake Hersey to a quick 5-0 first set lead, and the Knights couldn't quite catch up despite a late-game rally.
Andler (match high 14 kills) put down two shots with authority to bring Prospect within 24-23, but 6-7 senior Mike Fuerst hit a kill in the middle on the final point to help the Huskies escape.
The second set was all Huskies -- until again late in the game, when Prospect came back. The Knights fought back to within 24-22 on the strength of a kill by Alex Blethen and some Hersey errors, but Huskies senior Jordan Saeed closed things out in the middle with a kill off the block.
Fuerst (2) and Fotis Christacos (1) had the other aces for the hot serving Huskies.
"They did a nice job of taking us out of our system tonight," added Riedy. "We had no answer for them."
Schwister recorded 16 assists for Prospect while classmate McPartlin had 5 block kills.
Christacos gave a strong effort on defense for the home team with 13 digs, while Torvik contributed 12 assists and teammate Peter Wesolowski added 6 assists.
"This was a huge win," said Lill. "I didn't think it was our best effort, but our blocking improved in the second set, and our serving and passing were much better than last week against Buffalo Grove (when the Huskies suffered their first East defeat.)"
"We want to win conference," added Migus, "and to do that we knew we had to win tonight."