The South Elgin girls volleyball team has an array of talent along its front row, but St. Edward made it difficult for the Storm to pass the ball to those hitters in Wednesday's nonconference sweep in Elgin.
Fueled by a combination of aggressive serving by Samantha Boydston and efficient hitting from players like 6-foot-3 senior outside hitter Cece Rapp (7 kills), talented sophomore Dominique Washington (7 kills) and junior hitter Megan Barth (4 kills), the Green Wave snapped a 9-9 tie in Game 2 to complete a 25-19, 25-13 victory.
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A net infraction by South Elgin (0-2) gave St. Edward (6-2) a 10-9 lead in the second game. Boydston then stepped to the service line and ran off 6 more points to take a commanding 16-9 lead.
"We just stayed aggressive on our serve and it threw their ball control off a little bit," St. Edward coach Jaime Walton said. "It gave us a few free balls and we were able to run a good offense and put it away. We also picked it up on defense."
"It was definitely our serving. (Boydston) knew who to pick out," said Rapp, who notched 2 kills during the decisive Game 2 sequence. "And our defense was just excellent."
Whereas St. Edward benefitted from an experienced libero in senior Alyssa Saunders and a senior setter in team captain Casey Gredzieleski, who finished with 11 assists, 3 aces and 8 digs, the less-experienced Storm struggled with serve receive and setting. The result? No South Elgin player recorded more than 2 kills.
"I'm running a freshman setter and another setter that has never set before, a senior, so it's a matter of passing, getting it set and getting it to our hitters," South Elgin coach Joni Plach said. "If we can get it to our hitters, we'll start winning matches. But there's a lot to do before that."
Senior right side Renee Rush led the Storm with 5 digs, 4 assists and 2 kills. She said her team will improve with more matches as players master the basics of new positions and settle into new roles.
"We have four people at different positions than they usually play, so we're still learning how to rotate and play defense correctly," Rush said. "I think we'll get better as we go along."
St. Edward jumped to a 9-1 lead in the first game, but senior Katie Innis notched a cross-court kill to spark a 10-2 South Elgin run that tied the score, 11-11.
The lead changed hands four times until the Wave scored 7 of the last 8 points to take a 1-game lead. Gabriella Tripicchio contributed kills from either side of the court during that spree and Barth scored the last 2 points to seal it, including a block kill for game point.