Just when it seemed that South Elgin was in trouble, that visiting West Aurora was about to force a third and deciding set, the Storm rallied.
Trailing 16-9 in Set 2, the Storm rattled off a 12-3 tear to go ahead 21-19. The Blackhawks clawed back in front at 22-21, but the Storm finished it off from there for a 25-16, 25-23 win in Upstate Eight Valley action in South Elgin Tuesday.
Middle hitter Libby Vedrine keyed the comeback. Taking advantage of the Blackhawks' shorter middle blockers, she swatted 5 kills in the late going, including a wicked dink that put the Storm ahead to stay at 23-22.
"They got better in the second game," said South Elgin coach Joni Plach of the Blackhawks. "But we weren't earning the points that we should have been earning. So we had to kind of pick it up.
"They had some shorter blockers in the front row, so we definitely capitalized on their weaknesses. We just set our middle the whole time and she had 12 kills."
Behind Vedrine's 12 kills, Hayley Fisher added 8. Emily Wellman had 10 digs and setter Casie Swanson kept the offense going with 16 assists for South Elgin (4-5, 1-1).
The Storm controlled the first set all the way. South Elgin jumped ahead 7-2 and never really looked back, pushing the margin to 24-14. A hitting error and a service ace by Olivia McPherson kept the Blackhawks alive, but a wide serve gave the set to South Elgin.
Kendra Battle led the way for West Aurora with 6 kills and 2 blocks. McPherson added 3 kills and 2 a pair of aces while Abbey Lieser had 5 digs. Sophomore setter Jenna Millen had 8 assists.
The Blackhawks, who list just 3 seniors on the roster after graduating 13 last year, picked it up to start the second set, but couldn't sustain the momentum. A couple of rotation errors in the second set didn't help, as they fell to 8-7 overall.