ST. CHARLES – Nobody on the St. Charles East girls volleyball team would want to go through it again, but there was one silver lining to the quarantine that forced them to miss two of the six weeks to this shortened spring season.
The Saints were able to reschedule their home match with St. Charles North to Saturday, giving them a chance to honor their seniors and play their rival on the final day of the volleyball season.
St. Charles East closed out a difficult season with a strong effort, pulling out a 25-18, 25-27, 25-13 victory after the North Stars rallied to force a third set.
“The year was just crazy and I feel it was the perfect way to end the season playing our rivals in our last game,” Saints senior libero Kayla Daros said. “Having this game rescheduled was the perfect way to end.”
Daros was one of seven seniors at St. Charles East, joined by Audrey Albion, Skyler Misch, McKenzie Peterson, Kelsey Kyle, Nina Scoliere and Anita Prybell.
“Today was a celebration for the seniors,” said Saints coach Jennie Kull, whose team finished 10-3 in the DuKane Conference behind champion Geneva.
St. Charles North (13-7, 8-6) tried to play spoiler, bouncing back from a one-sided loss in the opening set to build a 14-8 lead in the second on a blast by sophomore Jessica Parker.
The Saints scored the next six points, getting a pair of kills by Prybell and one from Misch to tie the score at 14. It was back-and-forth from there to the finish, with 15 ties or lead changes.
Scoliere set middle Isabella Mosquera for a kill on a slide play that worked throughout the match, making it 25-25. The North Stars won the set on a push shot by Allyson Warburton, then the Saints hit long.
The Saints responded in a big way from that loss, taking a quick 6-1 lead in the third set on a Daros ace, Mosquera block and kills by Prybell and Kate Goudreau. The lead kept growing from there, 16-3 after Alexis Crossen tipped for a winner.
“I told them this is the last time the seniors are in this gym playing on this floor,” Kull said of her message after the second set. “You have to have pride in your school and your court and they did. And that was good.”
Goudreau and Crossen led a balanced attack with 7 kills; Mosquera and Prybell had 6. Taylor Swanson and Daros served 3 aces. The Saints blocked well paced by Mosquera’s 5 and 2 from Scoliere and Kendra Dziubinski.
And Daros, dubbed the “affable one” by the P.A. announcer every time she stepped up to serve, led a hustling effort by the entire team in the back row.
“I think we were all over the place,” Daros said. “We really stepped it up the third game. We had that mentality of never letting the ball drop.”
Warburton topped both teams with 13 kills and Katherine Scherer had 10 for the North Stars. A senior and a freshman, respectively, the pair represent the balancing act coach Lindsey Hawkins had in getting her seniors on the court while developing younger players in an abbreviated season that saw only 8 practices.
“Their senior leadership has been awesome this entire time,” Hawkins said. “Making sure they were focused on the season and nothing else. We were one of three (DuKane) teams that didn’t get COVID, I think that says something about them too.
“Any chance we get to get in the gym together is good. We had to approach practices differently, doing a lot of in-game learning. We saw a lot of young kids getting in there and taking on big roles and seniors stepping up.”
Source: The Daily Chronicle