ST. CHARLES – It seemed at times during Tuesday’s match between St. Charles North and St. Charles East that neither team wanted to earn the town’s boys volleyball bragging rights.
Both sides exhibited stretches of sloppy play, scoring more points on hitting and service errors than on kills, blocks and aces.
The two teams finally hit their stride in the third game with the host North Stars holding off a late Saints’ rally to take the match, 21-25, 25-20, 25-22, and remain unbeaten in Upstate Eight Conference River Division play.
“It was kind of sloppy night for us, kind of an off night,” North (18-3, 2-0 UEC River) coach Todd Weimer said. “There were servicing errors, defensive errors, blocking errors. … Maybe the whole East-North rivalry can get into people’s head.”
“There were moments when each of them were on,” Saints coach Kate McCullagh said. “Unfortunately, at times we were all off and that had an impact on [North] coming back and getting runs on us.”
North and East (10-13, 2-1) were tied at 8 early in the third game. The North Stars then staged a 7-2 run to take a 15-10 lead.
After McCullagh called a timeout, momentum swung East’s way as the Saints regained their composure.
“I think is good at that moment when things seem like they are starting to spiral out of control you need to look each other in the eye and say, ‘OK, it’s just a game,’ ” McCullagh said. “Let’s take a deep breath, go back out there and do our best.”
The Saints rallied to tie the game at 20, with Luke Spicer capping the surge with three straight kills. The junior outside hitter finished with eight kills and three blocks.
Spicer credited team play for the three late kills.
“I can’t do anything if our libero Sam [Pulcanio] and other passers don’t do their job and Tom [DeBruyne] doesn’t get the set up,” Spicer said. “I’m the third step. I tried to go up and keep the ball in and make a shot.”
East held a brief lead until North Stars middle blocker Jack Bujko’s kill tied the game at 22.
“Any time you have 12 seniors, you know you are going to have a lot of leadership and we came out with that composure that we knew we had,” North’s Kevin Beach said. “We’ve been in this situation before and we knew what we had to do pull through.”
Beach finished with 10 kills and 11 digs.
A Saints foot fault returned the lead to North, 23-22. A Jack Ziesmer kill and a Bujko block sealed the victory.
Ryan Dal Degan had 21 digs for the North Stars. Teammate Pat Misiewicz had 20 assists and 10 digs.
R.J. Yoder led the Saints with nine kills while teammate Iain O’Connor had six.
DeBruyne was credited with 27 assists while Pulcanio had 13 digs for the Saints.