Girls volleyball: Naperville Central duo slams St. Charles North
Through 14 matches this season only Sterling has been able to solve Naperville Central.
St. Charles North looked like it might be the second team when the North Stars opened a 14-10 lead in the second set Wednesday night on their home court, using their quick offense to catch the Redhawks off-guard on occasion.
But Naperville Central's pair of senior outside hitters, Kayla Closset and Maddie Bylak, had other ideas. They combined for 21 kills, leading their team on a 15-5 run to end the second set and the match for a 25-18, 25-19 victory.
Redhawks coach Brie Isaacson called the two undersized for their position, though their athleticism and power more than made up for that as they took turns putting balls down.
Closset ended with 11 kills plus 10 digs, 2 blocks and an ace, and Bylak totaled 10 kills, 6 digs and a block.
"I don't think about it," Bylak said of being 5-foot-9. "I'm not intimidated by anyone. (Down 14-10) we just talked to each other, calmed each other down, said what we needed to fix and fixed it. I think our future is looking really bright and we're looking forward to conference."
Naperville Central (13-1) came out swinging in the first set, taking a 14-6 lead on a backrow kill from Bylak. North Stars coach Lindsey Hawkins called timeout.
"I think one of the things that stunned us in the first set is our defense wasn't as strong as it usually is," Hawkins said. "We were making errors on defense we just never do. We talked about they are hitting deep so let's get back there. Let's actually get the ball."
St. Charles North (5-5) got back into the set with improved defense including a couple hustling digs from Kyla Lannert, and a block by Riley Moreno that made it 16-11. The North Stars got as close as 21-17 on Grace Ernst's kill before two more kills from Closset and a couple North Stars mistakes ended the set.
The North Stars led through much of the second set with a balanced attack led by Lannert, Lauren Ringness, Ernst and Marissa Guajardo.
A block by Bylak and Kaitlyn Skowronski's kill got the Redhawks going, and they grabbed a 17-16 lead when the North Stars passed long and Hannah Rubino smashed the ball down. Leading 22-19, Closset put away two balls before a St. Charles North error ended the match.
"We had talked about Kayla (Closset) is awesome and we need to minimize what she can do," Hawkins said. "Props to her because she's a great player and can pretty much hit any shot she wants all the time."
Lannert paced the North Stars with 6 kills, Ringness had 5 and Moreno added 2 blocks.
Skowronski (4 kills, 3 digs, 1 block), Grace Butler (21 assists) and Caroline Hughes (7 digs) also came up big for the Redhawks.
"They did a lot of things that took us out of system and I was proud our kids stuck with it," Isaacson said. "Our goal was to keep fighting.
"They run a very fast offense, the balls are coming faster than we have time to set up. That was something they did really well, and I thought they did a great job of keeping the ball off the floor as well."