ST. CHARLES – Establishing a lead was no problem for the St. Charles East girls volleyball team Wednesday.
It was holding on to those leads that proved difficult for the Saints.
Despite racing out to a pair of huge leads only to see them vanish, the Saints emerged with a 23-25, 25-9, 25-23 nonconference victory over the visiting Rosary Royals.
The first game saw the Saints jump out to a 6-1 lead, only to have the Royals come back to make it a back-and-forth battle. Rosary eventually grabbed a 17-16 lead and closed strong, locking up Game 1, 25-23.
East figured something out before Game 2, as the Saints steamrolled the Royals, tallying the game’s first seven points and 18 of the first 22 en route to a blowout 25-9 victory.
“We just came out with a lot more intensity, a lot more energy, a lot more confidence, and we wanted to win. That’s the big difference,” East junior Megan Schildmeyer said.
But the same problems that haunted East in Game 1 came back in Game 3.
The Saints again jumped out to a big lead, this one 9-1, but again watched it evaporate.
Rosary tied it at 13 and took leads of 14-13 and 16-15. But eventually the back-and-forth action settled into a slim Saints advantage, and the home team held on to win the third game, 25-23, as well as the match.
But it wasn’t easy.
“Mentally, we’ve been up and down,” Saints coach Jennie Kull said. “In the second game, we were real focused. … Rosary picked up, of course, and we just needed to continue to execute. It was kind of a roller coaster, but I’m pleased at the outcome because I think that they were able to persevere and finish and finish the match. That’s really important for a young team.”
“It was a challenge for our mental toughness,” Schildmeyer said. “We really had to gut it out and dig our feet in and not give them the lead again.”
Schildmeyer was one of two Saints to pick up a pair of aces on the night. She also ranked second on the team with seven kills, trailing fellow junior Mikaela Mosquera, who had nine.
Rosary coach Rachel Hartmann was pleased with her team’s resiliency despite the outcome.
“I am pretty happy because we have a lot of younger players, newer players to the team, girls who played on JV last year. So for us to be clicking that way – I’m not surprised we had those downfalls, but I’m happy to see us pop right back up,” Hartmann said.
The win moves the Saints to 3-0 on the season, while the loss sends the Royals to a 3-3 record.