ST. CHARLES – Outside hitting made a big difference as the St. Charles North girls volleyball team topped Glenbard North, 25-22, 25-19, to win its own IHSA Class 4A regional Thursday night.
The North Stars effectively neutralized Stephanie Tobison and Destiny Wade, Glenbard’s outside hitters and major scoring threats, while the North Star outside duo of sisters Taylor Krage and Daley Krage made major contributions to the victory.
North (24-14) advances to the Larkin Sectional semifinals, where it will play top-seeded Glenbard West on Tuesday.
“We knew [Tobison and Wade] were their go-to players,” North coach Lindsey Hawkins said. “So we worked a lot on blocking to at least get a touch on the ball and slow it down a little.”
“We just tried to put a block in after reading them,” North’s Alex Seavey said about the strategy. “Wherever the block was, the defense would fill in and it worked out pretty well.”
Taylor Krage led the team with eight kills and freshman Daley Krage had six. Taylor also contributed five blocks.
“Those two together on the outside is something really special,” Hawkins said about the Krages. “They give each other confidence.”
In the first game, neither team could gain momentum. The contest featured six tie scores and seven lead changes. Several times the North Stars appeared to pull away, building four-point leads but the Panthers would rally back.
“We always try to start the game focused and not crazy energy because that can go downhill real fast,” Taylor Krage said. “We knew not to get all tensed up so we tried to remain relaxed.”
Glenbard North tied the score for the sixth time at 21 and then pulled ahead by a point on successive Wade kills.
After a North timeout, the North Stars rallied for three straight scores to get to match point, 24-22. A Taylor Krage block supplied the final point.
“I think we had those regional championship game jitters so they were a little nervous coming out,” Hawkins said. “But we talked them through and calmed them down.”
The North Stars only trailed at the start of the second game when Glenbard North scored the first point. North quickly tied the game and took the lead. The North Stars started to pull away midway through the game, going on an 8-1 run to take a 18-11 lead.
Glenbard North rebounded and pulled within 19-16, but North was able to stop the rally, aided by the Panthers’ unforced errors, and won the game. This time, a Daley Krage kill tallied the winning point.
“We were in it,” Glenbard North coach Jeremy Bradley said about the second game. “But we made a couple of mistakes at the end.”
Emily Carroll led the team with seven blocks. Renee Rhoades had 20 digs, while setter Emily Belz was credited with 19 assists and four aces.