Wednesday, November 6, 2013

St. Charles North Advances to State Super Sixteen

St. Charles North girls volleyball takes out East in sectional showdown

GENEVA – St. Charles North girls volleyball players welcomed an onrushing student section Tuesday night. Charged by the North Stars’ 25-19, 25-22 sweep of St. Charles East in a Class 4A Geneva Sectional semifinal, the “Blue Fan Group” stormed the court, and North’s players held their ground.

North showed similar poise throughout the night, pouncing on the Saints as East continually kept itself down with 10 service errors. North (30-5) seized control early in both games against East (31-7) and will look to duplicate that intensity in Thursday’s sectional final against host Geneva.

“In a way, it kind of helps knowing everyone on the other side of the net,” North senior outside hitter Taylor Krage said, “but in a way it doesn’t, because sometimes you play too much into what you think each girl is going to do and their tendencies when really, you’ve just got to go out and play.”

The Vikings handed the North Stars their lone Upstate Eight Conference River Division loss of the season, a three-game victory that ultimately created a shared title between North and East.

North defeated visiting East, 25-17, 23-25, 25-22 on Sept. 17, one week before the Geneva loss. That victory against the Saints marked the first win for North Stars coach Lindsey Hawkins – the former Lindsey Linkimer – against her alma mater since joining the program in 2009.  Tuesday’s meeting was hardly the first postseason encounter between the schools, and the sight of Saints and North Stars socializing after the match was a common one after the North students dispersed. “Honestly, a game can’t ruin a friendship,” East senior outside hitter Dana Voltolina said. “I love my team, I loved this season, but one game doesn’t decide our life.”

Veteran Saints coach Jennie Kull succintly assessed what she thought turned the latest North-East clash.  “We live and die by the serve, and tonight we died by it. That’s the bottom line,” Kull said. “That’s what kept us in so many games, and today, it took us out of the game. We didn’t execute tonight. We didn’t play well, unfortunately. I think that if we would have executed the [game plan] that we would have been able to be more successful.”

East closed to within 15-13 in the second game, but followed up with a service error, one of four in the game. The same thing happened one point after the Saints trailed, 21-20.

North’s sister tandem of Taylor Krage (six kills) and her younger sibling, sophomore Daley (five kills), often subdued the Saints when there weren’t self-inflicted wounds.

Taylor Krage handcuffed East’s Chloe Rojas (eight digs) with the match-clinching kill. In the first Genva match, Taylor Krage smacked 16 kills while Daley added six.

“It’s a magical connection out there between them,” Hawkins said. “Sometimes, I get goosebumps when I see them talking to each other, giving each other tips on what to be doing, what shots are open. Daley’s really thrived having her sister, and she’s learned a lot from her, and so it’s just a special bond I don’t think a lot of people can understand. And it’s really helped our team a lot this year.”

Voltolina and Megan Schildmeyer contributed seven kills apiece for East, which was bidding to return to its home floor for supersectionals on Saturday. Carly Jimenez had 21 assists while Anne Hughes added 11 digs.

Defensive specialist Alex Seavey and setter Sydney Wohlert excelled in moving the ball to North’s hitters. Communication issues plagued the North Stars against the Vikings in September.
“That sort of thing can happen against any team,” Taylor Krage said. “It wasn’t because we were playing them, per se, it was us coming out not focused. So we’re definitely coming into Thursday ready to play.”

IHSA Class 4A Geneva Sectional

Tuesday’s semifinals
(4) Geneva def. (1) Glenbard West, 2-0 (25-20, 25-21)
(2) St. Charles North def. (3) St. Charles East, 2-0 (25-19, 25-22)

Thursday’s final
(4) Geneva vs. (2) St. Charles North, 7 p.m.

The Daily Herald

Article updated: 11/5/2013 10:58 PM

St. Charles N. sweeps St. Charles E.

Meeting in the Class 4A sectional girls volleyball semifinals Tuesday night for the fourth time in 7 years, St. Charles North and St. Charles East were both hoping to extend their seasons at least 2 more days.
The second-seeded North Stars (31-5) will return to practice this afternoon after their 25-19, 25-22 victory over the third-seeded Saints (31-7) in Geneva.
It marked the North Stars' second victory in as many tries this season against their cross-town rivals but first postseason win over the Saints since 2006.
"I'm really proud of our girls for fighting back and really pushing against them tonight," said North Stars coach Lindsey Hawkins, who had lost 2 previous sectional semifinal matches to St. Charles East in 2011 and 2009.
The North Stars built leads of 16-8, 18-10, and 19-11 in the opening game before turning back a late Saints' rally.
Northern Illinois University-bound outside hitter Taylor Krage helped her team fight off the Saints with a mix of power and finesse on back-to-back kills as the North Stars turned a 22-18 lead into a 24-18 advantage.
Senior Sophia DuVall's middle kill sealed the deal in Game 1 as the North Stars also benefited from 6 Saints' service errors.
"They made a lot of errors in the first set which is uncharacteristic of them," Hawkins said of the Saints. "We knew going into the second set that they were going to clean it up and push back real hard."
After falling behind 17-13 in Game 2, the Saints clawed within a point on 3 separate occasions but could never pull even.
"We've really been working on first-ball side-outs and not allowing teams to make the runs," said Krage, who had a team-high 8 kills, including the match-point clincher. "That really showed tonight. There weren't many multiple point runs by them."
After surviving a 3-game regional championship match with Wheaton North last Thursday, the North Stars were focused on making things a little less dramatic Tuesday night.
"We definitely wanted to come out more mentally focused because we saw what happened on Thursday," said Krage.
"I think we learned a lot from that match," said Hawkins. "I keep telling them that at this point of the season every team is good and every team is fighting for their last day. It's a lot less about skill and more about heart and the will to win. If you take points off, you're going to suffer the consequences."
Sophomore Daley Krage added 5 kills while Jaclyn Taylor had 2 kills and Alex Seavey recorded a pair of aces.
"It's a magical connection out there between them," Hawkins said of the Krage sisters. "Sometimes I get goose bumps when I see them talking to each other and giving each other tips on what shots are open."
Megan Schildmeyer and Dana Voltolina paced the Saints with 7 kills apiece, while senior setter Carly Jimenez added 21 assists and 5 digs.
"Honestly I think we could've played 10 times better but you can always reflect on the what-ifs or you can accept the fact that they (the North Stars) played great," said Jimenez, who will play volleyball next year at High Point University (N.C.)
"We live and die by the serve and tonight we died by it," said Saints coach Jennie Kull of her team's 10 service errors. "It's what kept us in so many games and today it took us out of the game. You can't miss six serves in the first game and continue to miss them in the second."
Mutual respect was evident from both coaches after the match.
"I'm proud of Lindsey (Hawkins), I'm proud of the girls and I wish them the best of luck," said Kull, who coached Hawkins (then Linkimer) in high school.
"They teach their girls how to fight," said Hawkins. "I'm a product of that. She's (Kull) an awesome coach and I have a massive amount of respect for her and the program she has over there."
St. Charles North will face fourth-seeded Geneva (28-9) in Thursday's sectional championship.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Regional Championship Win in Three Sets against Wheaton North

St. Charles North volleyball finds inspiration in wild match

Created: Friday, November 1, 2013 5:35 a.m. CST

SOUTH ELGIN – Heather Dorniden is not a volleyball player, but she still played an inspirational role in St. Charles North’s victory over Wheaton North in the Class 4A South Elgin Girls Volleyball Regional championship match Thursday night.

The North Stars (29-5) rallied from an eight-point deficit in the third and decisive game to down the Falcons, 25-19, 24-26, 26-24.

St. Charles North led the second game, 24-17, but Wheaton North (23-15) scored the next nine points to force Game 3. The Falcons continued their roll by scoring the first seven points of the final game. The scoring spree prompted a timeout from St. Charles North coach Lindsey Hawkins, who reminded her players of the story of Dorniden, a track star in the last decade for the University of Minnesota.
“We watched maybe a very timely, inspirational video today about a girl from Minnesota who was running in the Big Ten championships and fell, but then came back to win the race,” Hawkins said. “So we talked about how it was all about belief in herself and how she believed that she could do it. And so that’s what we said in the timeout. We just need to believe.”

Dorniden fell in the middle of the 600-meter finals at the 2008 Big Ten Indoor Championships, but in a tremendous display of guts and determination, ran down the field to win the race at the wire.
“We really just didn’t want to end our season on a bad note,” St. Charles North middle blocker Sophia DuVall said. “We wanted it so badly and I feel like it was kind of one of those mind over matter things.”
DuVall had 10 kills in the match, including four in the opening game.

“Obviously our outsides, the Krage sisters [Taylor and Daley] are pretty key, but some teams will tend to hone in on them if we go to them a lot,” North Stars setter Sydney Wohlert said. “Our sophomore and right sides are stepping up huge, Claire [Anderson] and Jaclyn Taylor, but also our middles. I pulled them aside before and said, ‘This is your game. They have shorter middles than us, so if you get up there, I’ll give you the ball.’ ”

St. Charles North seemed in control of the second game, taking a 24-17 lead on a Daley Krage block, one of six kills she had on the night. But a Grace Tiesman block started the 16-point run by the Falcons.

“We were really frustrated,” Wohlert said. “But we’ve been fighters all season. That’s what we’ve been known for, is having resilience and being able to come back in key moments.”

The Wheaton North string finally ended with a couple of hitting errors. The Falcons still led 10-2, when DuVall scored in the middle, the first kill for the North Stars in 21 points.

“As a hitter, I just really like to take advantage of every ball Syd gives me, just because as a middle it’s kind of harder to get set all the time,” DuVall said. “We all work so hard in practice. We’re like a family. We don’t want to let each other down.”

DuVall’s kill started a rally of eight straight points for St. Charles North that tied the game. Alex Seavey had a pair of ace serves during the run.

The game went back and forth after that, but Taylor Krage came alive down the stretch, notching five of her 13 kills in the final game, including one that put St. Charles North up, 25-24. She came up with a key block on the next point that Wheaton North could not return.

Emily Carroll had seven kills for the North Stars, including a pair of blocks in the middle. Wohlert recorded 25 assists.

Videos for Sets 1, 2 and 3 are below.

Thanks to Dan Dal Degan for the You Tube videos!