By all appearances, Hersey was headed for a Set 1 loss Tuesday night in their boys volleyball matchup against visiting Elk Grove.
Facing an inspired Grenadiers team, the Huskies trailed most of the way, late into the set.
Then, faster than you can say bang-bang, libero Fotis Christacos gave the lead and the momentum back to the home team.
Christacos hit two consecutive service aces to send Hersey on to a 26-24, 25-10 senior night victory.
The win enabled the Huskies (26-3, 9-1) to clinch the Mid-Suburban League East title outright for the first time since 2003.
"A great win," said Christacos, one of 7 Hersey seniors. "This gives us confidence to go on and play Barrington for the championship. It's always tough to go up against them."
Hersey will play at Barrington a week from Wednesday for the MSL crown. The Huskies defeated the Broncos in three games at the Glenbrook North tourney last weekend.
"We've got a great senior class this season," said Huskies coach Nancy Lill. "It was nice to get all of them -- except for Jorge Castro, who was injured -- playing time on senior night."
The first ace from Christacos, who Lill said has "been serving very aggressively lately," just tipped over the net to an open spot to give the Huskies a 20-19 first set lead.
The next one was a rocket that was unplayable by the Grens defense, and despite same late hard hitting from Elk Grove's Sam Ostling, the home team prevailed on a final kill by senior Matt Aguilar off a set from Bart Migus.
Hersey went on an 8-point run midway to seal the second game, highlighted by two dynamic block kills by Migus.
"The first game was dirty, ugly," said Castro, who suffered a hand injury earlier in the week in gym class. "The second game we played very well. If we keep playing like we did in game two we're going to win a lot more matches."
"The way we started was a little disappointing," added Christacos. "The important thing is that we were able to push through and get a win."
Migus led the way on offense with what Lill called 6 "thunderous kills," while senior Jordan Saeed had 5 blocks.
Other senior contributions from Hersey were from Princeton-bound Mike Fuerst (4 kills), Alex Mueller (4 kills), and Matt Torvik (35-for-35 setting, 11 assists).
Christacos, who Lill said "owns all our defensive records," finished with 8 digs.
"We wanted to win this game tonight to get momentum for the championship match," said Castro. "That's the mindset we came in with."
Barrington d. Schaumburg: The visiting Broncos completed a perfect run against their MSL West foes by topping the host Saxons 23-25, 25-19, 25-20.
Connor Wright (15 kills) and Justin Glader (11) paced the attack for Barrington, and Noah Richetti led the Broncos in both setting assists (29) and blocks (3). Wright also had a team-best 11 digs.
Cameron Nolan led Schaumburg (21-12, 6-4) with 9 kills, while Nidhin Thomas had 5 and Kevin McGinn had 4.
Palatine d. Hoffman Estates: Ryan Campbell had a team-high 14 kills and Jakub Niedzwiecki contributed 10 to help the Pirates past the Hawks 20-25, 25-14, 25-22.
Jake Boldog (16 assists) and Tyler Kendzior (14 assists) ran the offense for Palatine and Kyle Obernesser had a team-best 15 digs.
Gregg Lugo led Hoffman Estates with 8 kills while Matt Stacy had 7 and Anthony Orozco produced 22 digs.
Buffalo Grove d. Wheeling: Brandon Reed (10 kills) and Alex Franz (7) led the attack and Zach Schnittker (17 assists, 5 aces) and Paul Weon (11 assists) ran the show as Buffalo Grove improved to 20-12 overall and finished 6-4 in the MSL East with a 25-12, 25-16 win over the Wildcats.
Top performers for Wheeling (6-25-1, 0-10) were Alex Kais (6 kills), Nick Stephani (9 digs) and Sagar Kapadia (35-38 setting, 6 assists).
Fremd d. Conant: The Vikings squared their MSL West mark at 5-5 and improved to 9-18 overall with a 26-24, 25-14 decision.
Patrick Kurka had a team-best 8 digs, Eduardo Amador had 11 assists and Andrew Larson provided 6 kills for Fremd.
St. Viator d. Marian Catholic: The Lions improved to 22-10 overall with a 25-19, 25-13 road win in East Suburban Catholic Conference play.
Ethan Wolf had a team-best 11 kills along with 5 digs for St. Viator, Ryan Schills had 9 kills and Mark Tun had 9 digs.