Metea Valley shuffled the deck and came out dealing aces Tuesday at Wheaton North.
The Mustangs served 18 aces, including 7 by 5-foot-8 outside hitter Sydnie Herrmann and 6 by 6-2 middle hitter Kailee Bass, to beat Wheaton North, 19-25, 25-15, 25-10, and maintain their hold on the DuPage Valley Conference girls volleyball lead.
After dropping the first game Metea Valley (24-6, 4-0) trailed 5-4 in the second set when Herrmann went to the service line. Six aces later, including four in a row, the Mustangs led 12-5 and never looked back.
"No, no, no, I've never served that many in a row," Herrmann said. "I was kind of surprised, to be honest. I was just rolling with it. I think it comes down to me overthinking it. I'll get a good one in and think, 'OK, now I have to do the same thing,' and I'll miss it.
"But when I went back there tonight, I wasn't thinking," she added. "That helps a lot."
Metea Valley coach Dave Macdonald called his team's success at the service line "crazy" but wasn't surprised that Herrmann ignited the Mustangs' comeback.
"She's been a big sparkplug when she goes back to serve," he said. "I always knew she could topspin like that. It's just the control part. We really worked on it during the off-season and she continues to work on it a lot."
After a seventh-place finish at the Waubonsie Valley Warrior Blast, the Mustangs have defeated Naperville Central, Downers Grove North and Wheaton North. Macdonald credits Metea Valley's recent surge to a switch from a 6-2 to a 5-1 alignment.
"Going to a 5-1 was huge for us," he said. "Having our senior leader in (Sydney) Aitchison on the floor all the time … the girls get that consistent set. She's been working her tail off after practice and getting extra repetitions with our middles and all our hitters.
"It's starting to click now, which is really exciting," Macdonald added. "I was just waiting to use it and it's really come along."
The win also kept Metea Valley's conference title hopes within reach with three of the league's stronger teams -- Naperville North, Naperville Central and Wheaton North -- in the Mustangs' rearview mirror.
"We didn't have a lot of energy, we didn't have our intensity in the first set," Bass said. "We came back to the huddle after the first game and our captains said, 'Hey what's our goal? Our goal is to win conference and we need to win this match to make sure we get closer to our goal.'"
Herrmann added 2 kills and 2 blocks to go along with her 7 aces, and Bass had 10 kills and 2 blocks to complement her service line spree. Mikaila Dowd added 10 kills and 2 aces, Emma Aske had 7 kills, and Aitchinson contributed 25 assists and a pair of digs.