ST. CHARLES – Tough as it was for St. Charles East girls volleyball fans to exhale Wednesday night, their favorite team's ability to cool it paved the way to an upset.
The Saints trailed, 9-2, in the second game of an eventual 16-25, 25-20, 25-18 victory against perennial power Benet when East coach Jennie Kull called what proved a key timeout.
"One of the things we had talked about as a team is we needed to make sure that no matter what, we had to give the effort," Kull said. "We weren't swinging, we were kind of being selfish, and you can't do that against a Benet."
East (14-4) responded quickly behind Dana Voltolina (14 kills) and a versatile defense that saw four players finish with double-digit digs. Anne Hughes (21 digs) led the way, while Carly Jimenez (16), Megan Schildmeyer (13) and Mikaela Mosquera (10) were next.
Jimenez also dished 27 assists before a capacity crowd during East's homecoming week.
"Our soccer team got out early, our football team was there. It was one of those Saints crowds, and it was awesome," Kull said. "It couldn't have been more exciting in there."
Montini 2, Aurora Christian 0 (25-8, 25-12): At Lombard, Aurora Christian suffered a Suburban Christian Conference sweep.
Wheaton Academy 2, Walther Lutheran 0 (25-9, 25-17): At Melrose Park, Wheaton Academy (15-6, 4-1 SCC Gold) rolled to the conference win.
St. Charles East 159, St. Charles North 168: At St. Charles Country Club, medalist Connor McCadam's 39 lifted East, which finished 5-1 in Upstate Eight Conference River Division duals. Gary King, Kyle Jacobs and Keone Derain all followed with 40s.
"We got four good scores and a good team score out there. I was really pleased," Saints coach John Stock said. "We know we've got to get better next week" for the conference tournament at St. Andrew's in West Chicago.
Matt Samuelson (40) and Raghav Cherala (41) led North. Neuqua Valley (156) matched up against Waubonsie Valley (166) in a simultaneous UEC Valley dual.
Marmion 153, Benet 161: At River Bend in Lisle, Eli Grabowski (36), Luke Hoss (38) and Joe Fritz (39) propelled Marmion.
St. Charles East Invitational: Unbeaten host East rolled past Plainfield South, 6-0, to earn its ninth win of the season. Chris Lucatorto posted the shutout in net.
St. Charles East 4, Benet 3: At Lisle, East (8-1) captured three of four doubles matches. Haydyn Jones and Kelsie Roberton rallied for a 6-7(4), 6-2 (11-9) victory in the No. 1 slot, while the No. 4 tandem of Kelly Rinker and Katie Downing won, 6-3, 6-3.