Girls volleyball: Hersey topples Buffalo Grove to go unbeaten in MSL East
Last year's Mid-Suburban East co-champion girls volleyball teams gave the fans quite an entertaining finish to this year's conference season on Thursday night at Buffalo Grove.
The host Bison and Hersey were playing a thrilling back-and -forth third set that was tied for the ninth time at 20-20 when 5-foot-9 senior Nora Zielke stepped to the service line.
She was still standing there when the match ended.
Her five straight service points put an end to a 25-14, 21-25, 25-20 decision that gave Hersey coach Nancy Lill her 999th career win.
It also gave 2019 East champion Hersey (22-3) its 30th win in 31 East matches and a second 10-0 season in three years.
Zielke's big run included the 18th and 19th kills by Kati Kaburov, an ace and a match-ending second-attack kill by Kate Lubbe (3 kills).
"I'm proud of Nora for keeping her serve in and serving aggressively at the end," Lill said.
"It was really a big team effort," said Zielke, who had 12 digs and 2 aces. "The team was able to keep digging the balls and putting them down off my serve, so it was really good."
Lill will go for her 1,000th win on Friday when the Huskies face Evanston at Maine South High School (5 p.m.) in the first round of the Maine West Pumpkin Invite.
"That would be a really big achievement for Hersey volleyball in general," Zielke said.
Senior Janine Boyan added 5 kills and 4 blocks for Hersey while classmate Kaiya Eshoo handed out 26 assists with 3 blocks. Senior Juliette van den Herik also had 3 blocks.
"Kati had another outstanding performance," Lill added. "You can see why she is such a top player in the state. She carried us. I thought Kaiya did a good job dealing with the passes she got. We had some good defense across the board from Maddie (Mullen who had 22 digs), Kaiya and Kati.
"Buffalo Grove (13-17, 6-4) really stepped up and played some great volleyball. You've got to give them credit. They were aggressive and they were being consistent. We were put out of system quite a bit. Our serve receive was weak at times and that made it was hard to run our offense."
BG's offense was led by Shannon Coglianese and Megan Mitsunaga, who each clubbed 11 kills while Ella McBride thrived in the back row with 17 digs followed by Abby Ferriss (11). Claire Schneider handed out 28 assists with 5 digs.
"The most important thing we took away is that we came into this season a real young team (only one senior) and it's just been real fun to see us progress," said BG coach Matt Priban. "The girls are finally gaining the confidence that we can play with the best teams in the area. We've just got to keep believing it and working to improve. We showed a lot of good stuff tonight and I'm really proud of the girls."