South Elgin turns back Larkin
Nate Marotta stepped to the service line after a go-ahead kill Thursday evening in the second game against Larkin.
The South Elgin junior pounded back-to-back aces to spark a 6-0 run to take control of the second game. The Storm went on to beat District U-46 rival Larkin, 25-22, 25-17 in Elgin.
"I started feeling the serve," Marotta said. "I started off a little slow, not too slow, but then after that you can start going full out, 110 percent."
Marotta led South Elgin (1-1) with 9 kills and 3 aces as the Storm rebounded from Wednesday's season-opening loss.
Larkin (0-2) lead early in each of the two games but couldn't sustain the momentum. The Royals led 4-1 in the opening game before the Storm went on a 5-0 run to take a 6-4 lead. South Elgin didn't trail again in the first game, but never led by any more than five. A service error from the Storm got the Royals within 1, 23-22. A four-hit violation by Larkin gave the Storm game point. Chris Gibaldo's only kill gave South Elgin the opening-game win.
"I feel like we have the weapons to hit. I feel like we have a setter who can get the balls there," Storm coach Adam Plach said. "Our serve receive has to be there to get the balls to them so they can do that. (Wednesday) night that was the biggest thing we struggled with."
The Royals led by two on three occasions to start the second game. A Joe Lullo kill gave the Storm an 8-7 lead and South Elgin didn't trail again.
The game was tied 12-12 before a Marotta kill and the consecutive aces gave South Elgin a 15-12 lead. A Nathan Wells kill, a Larkin error and a Ian Sexton block increased the lead to 18-12.
Lullo finished the match with a back-row kill.
Lullo had 5 kills, 3 blocks and 5 digs. Gibaldo had 12 assists.
Damian Trujillo led the Royals with 7 kills. Riley Sadlon added 5 kills. Thomas Hendershott had 5 blocks. Rodolfo Hernandez finished with 16 assists.
"It was leaps and bounds better than what we did against Willowbrook," Royals coach Henry Graack said. "These are steps in the right direction."