There's been a dramatic change of fortune for the Prospect boys volleyball team.
Just two short weeks ago they were floundering with an 0-7 record after a conference opening loss to Buffalo Grove.
Now they've won 7 of their last 9 matches, and after Tuesday's 26-24, 25-21 victory over Hersey the Knights are all alone in first place in the Mid-Suburban East with a 4-1 division mark.
Prospect stormed back with a big rally against the Huskies in the first set, fighting off three game points, and coach Mike Riedy says that the way his team persevered has been a parallel to the whole season thus far.
"We started out tonight's match wound-up and tight," said Riedy, "and that's indicative of the way we began the season -- wound up and tight."
"Once we loosened up and had fun, we got a taste of winning, and that comeback tonight gave us a big shot in the arm."
Prospect trailed the first set 24-20 but scored the next 6 consecutive points, winning on a kill by junior right side Grant Andler after a perfect set by classmate Jacob Schwister.
"We were low on energy at the start," said Knights sophomore outside hitter Eryk Krzyzak, who led the way on attack with a match-high 8 kills. "Once we picked up the energy, we started to play better, and that run we went on got us rolling into the second set."
Hersey coach Nancy Lill had a different take on game one.
"I give a lot of credit to Prospect," said Lill. "They played with a lot of heart, but we basically gave the game away with all of the unforced errors we made. It was ugly."
A quick kill then an ace by Curtis Glennon sparked the Knights early in set two, but after Prospect opened up a seemingly insurmountable 20-12 advantage, it was the Huskies' turn to rally.
Led by sophomore Bart Migus (4 kills), host Hersey closed the gap to 23-21.
"Volleyball is a crazy game, with all the shifts in momentum," said Lill, "and once we got the momentum back and the guys started believing I really thought we were going to take it. But once again, errors did us in."
Prospect took a 24-21 lead when Hersey hit the ball wide, and the Knights took match point on an impressive double block by Andler and Matt McPartlin.
Glennon and Andler finished with 6 kills apiece for Prospect, while Krzyzak was 14-of-15 on serve receive.
Mike Fuerst (5 kills) led the offensive attack for Hersey, which fell to 2-3 in the East at the halfway point of the MSL season.
"I thought we played very well through most of the first game," said Lill. "We were very effective and in complete control.
"We've just got to try to get past all of those unforced errors. We can't afford to give away points."
Elk Grove d. Buffalo Grove: The host Grens won 25-21 in the first set, fell 25-15 in the second and pulled out a 26-24 decision in the third to win in MSL East play.
Jake Braceros (13 kills) and Kevin Wickstrom (10) led the way for Elk Grove on the attack. Ray Kraus had 19 setting assists and Braceros had 19 digs for the Grens (11-6, 2-3).
Fremd d. Hoffman Estates: Aaron Kent and Tim Vandon both had 3 block kills to help the visiting Vikings past Hoffman Estates 25-21, 25-16.
Kent also led the attack with 5 kills and David Kim had 18 seting assists for Fremd (7-9, 2-3).
Jovi Pablo had a match-high 11 kills for Hoffman Estates.
Wheeling d. Rolling Meadows: Tim Lee (16 kills, 11 digs) and Zack Nauert (14 kills, 8 digs) had big efforts to help Wheeling past Rolling Meadows 25-21, 21-25, 26-24 as the Wildcats picked up their first Mid-Suburban East victory.
Lee, Nauert, Jacob Del Toro, Nick Stephani and Jonathan Greer combined to go a perfect 51-for-51 serving, and Eric Ruttenberg had 38 setting assists.
Tim Ellis (15 kills) and Kevin Murphy (14 kills) led the attack for Meadows (9-3, 3-2), while Brett Frey had 38 assists and Peter Nickle came up with 21 digs.
Barrington d. Conant: Ben Karon served up 6 aces and Charlie Spry had 9 kills to help the Broncos to a 25-14, 25-9 triumph in MSL West play.
Mark Tomuta served a pair of aces and Patryk Openchowski had 3 digs for Conant (1-15, 0-5).
Leyden d. Proviso East: The Eagles rolled in West Suburban Gold play, 25-16, 25-10.
Palatine d. Schaumburg: The host Pirates produced a strong effort to win the MSL West matchup 25-16, 25-10.
Danny Matijevic (6 kills) led the attack, Christian Frahm had 19 digs and Kyle Obernesser had 16 setting assists for Palatine.
St. Viator d. St. Patrick: The visiting Lions prevailed 25-22, 25-23 in an East Suburban Catholic Conference opener.
Ben Wolf (11 kills) and Ethan Wolf (5) led the attack for St. Viator (12-4, 1-0), and Brennan Harrington was 62-for-62 setting with 23 assists.