Girls volleyball: Energized Maine East dumps Maine West
While looking to go above .500 in the Central Suburban North, Maine East's girls volleyball team looked to its seventh player.
Like East, that intangible also starts with an 'E'.
"We talked about energy today," said Blue Demons coach Rintu Philip. "Our energy is our seventh player."
And that led to a seventh win, not to mention the most impressive of the season for Maine East.
With senior Chris Kotsifas registering a match-high 12 kills, Maine East used its energy start to finish to post a 25-20, 26-24 win over visiting Maine West on Monday night in Park Ridge.
Kotsifas, also a talent in the swimming pool for the school's girls water polo team, put down a kill which equaled East 's biggest lead in Set 1 at 14-9.
The next time the hosts would lead by 5 was at 25-20 on a service point from Mary Kolodziejski.
"This was the best energy we've had in a match," said Kotsifas, after the Blue Demons (7-9, 2-1) recorded their first two-set win of the season.
"And everyone contributed to every play. We always have tight games with Maine West and it's exciting to be part of them. It's nice to get the win because we still have a chance in conference."
The Blue Demons needed that energy after Maine West rallied from a 17-12 deficit in Set 2.
A kill from sophomore Mahima Chokshi and ace from Kotsifas led to the 5-point lead.
"Mahima is the youngest player on our squad but we brought her up so she can mature through the years," Philip said. "Next year, she'll even be more seasoned."
A kill from sophomore Viviana Ramirez made it 17-13 to begin the West rally.
Thanks to back-to-back aces from Adriana Lopez and a kill by Jaclyn Reidl, West later led 22-19.
That's when Philip called for a timeout.
The Blue Demons fought back to within 23-21 on an ace from Colleen Oribello.
West got to set point at 24-22 but the relentless Blue Demons answered with 4 straight points to notch the win.
The winning rally included a tip kill by Kotsifas and 3 errors by the visitors.
"We definitely beat ourselves," said Maine West coach Nora Feyerer, whose team is 9-9 and 2-1. "We just couldn't execute consistently throughout the match. That's definitely something we will be working on in practice.
"We were super happy with our captain Krysta Block (junior outside hitter). She has really improved her timing and hitting. She looked really great and played awesome."
Philip thought it was awesome how everyone stepped up for his squad.
"This was our best match of the season," he said. "As a collective group, it was a great match. We've always had an individual step up but today it was a whole group effort with everyone diving for balls and everything. I'm very pleased."
Junior Emma Matic, who directed the 6-1 Blue Demons' offense, also had some key serves, digs and attacks.
"As a sophomore last season, Emma stepped up and now this season she is a little more of a veteran in this sport. She is learning which is great and that's we expected of her," Philip said.