Girls volleyball: South Elgin tops Bartlett, stays in control of UEC race
South Elgin's volleyball team made itself feel right at home in enemy territory Tuesday night.
Junior outside hitter Alyssa Worden recorded 14 kills and 7 digs, while senior libero Maggie McGough had 13 digs and senior setter Emma Hunter added 11 assists to help lift the Storm (23-3, 8-0) to a convincing 25-14, 25-20 Upstate Eight Conference victory in Bartlett.
"Rivalry games are so exciting," said Worden, who had 9 kills in the second set, including the match-winning smash from the back row. "We were pumped for this game. I know they were, too, and this is their house so we're really happy to get it done in two (games)."
South Elgin never trailed, scoring 12 of the last 16 points to take the opening set before jumping out to a 13-5 lead in the second set before fighting off a late Bartlett comeback bid.
While Worden enjoyed her usual standout performance, the Storm received significant contributions from others, including middle blocker Loreal Wilson (3 kills, 3 aces), junior outside hitter Maddy Shaner (5 kills) and sophomore outside hitter Jazmine Binion (3 kills) -- along with McGough and Hunter.
"Obviously, Alyssa (Worden) is a really great player," said Storm coach Joni Plach. "That being said, we're at the end of the season. Everybody knows who Alyssa is. I have a lot of other great players, so we are really focused on getting the ball to others and mixing it up.
"Loreal Wilson has been on my team for three years. She's an athlete and a competitor. My libero, Maggie McGough, is also a 3-year varsity starter and senior. They're both ready to finish out their senior year strong."
The win, which snapped the Hawks' 4-match winning streak, avenged South Elgin's 3-set loss at the hands of Bartlett back on Aug. 28 during the U-46 tournament.
"We were without three seniors that day, including two seniors who were taking the SAT test," said Plach, "and it was our second match of the season. We didn't have our full team.
"We haven't lost a match with our full team."
Worden echoed her coach's sentiment.
"The difference tonight was attitude," she said. "We've improved a lot since we played them the first week of the season. Our confidence level is growing."
South Elgin, which extended its winning streak to 8, visits St. Charles East Wednesday evening in what could be a Class 4A regional championship preview.
Bartlett (18-14, 5-3) was led by Madison Hankins (6 kills, 1 block), Bria Lomax (6 kills, 2 blocks, 1 ace), Jade Lindstrom (4 kills) and Madison Neer (3 kills, 1 block).
"In the first set, they had five tip kills just over our block and we had six missed serves," said Hawks coach Robert Schwantz. "Teams make errors, but we just made too many. It seemed like we weren't on our home court. We were playing nervous.
"They were the better team tonight and we gave them a lot of points. I always say, 'it's hard to beat six girls -- it's impossible to beat 12.'"