ST. CHARLES – St. Charles North, third-place finishers in last year’s IHSA boys volleyball state tournament, is a team that area schools use to measure their progress.
St. Francis fared well in that comparison Monday night. The Spartans beat the North Stars in two games, 25-12 and 25-21, in a nonconference contest.
“St. Charles North is a good team. Last year they made it to state,” St. Francis coach Mike Lynch said. “They are always a good measuring stick because they have a really good program.”
Leading the Spartans attack was 6-foot-9 middle hitter Jeff Jendryk. The Loyola-bound senior scored a match-high 10 kills. He was aided by senior teammate and St. Charles resident Robert Smith, who had 23 assists.
“Our 11 seniors stepped up tonight, especially Robert and Jeff,” Lynch said. “Their experience played through tonight.”
“Our passing was unbelievable good. We had three-point passing every time,” Jendryk said. “We also were able to run all three of our hitters.”
The Spartans (15-2) dominated the first game, scoring six unanswered to start the contest. A Jack Bujko (three kills, three blocks) tip finally put North on the scoreboard, down 6-1.
St. Francis scored another seven points before the North Stars scored their second point on a Ben Connor kill.
North (7-9) closed the gap to 18-8 on a Brendan Donlevy kill but the North Stars were not able to get any closer.
“We were organized on the court but unorganized in our thoughts,” North coach Todd Weimer said. “I thought we had a nice game plan but we just did not execute very well.”
“We were just really shaky. We didn’t practice all weekend,” said Bujko. “Also Jendryk put up really hard hits and a big blocks so sometimes it was harder for our players to block him.”
The second game started out as a tight battle between the two teams. The first half of the game featured four ties and three lead changes.
The Spartans took the lead for good 11-10 on a North Star hitting error.
The North Stars pulled with two points 19-17 on a Drew Lanz kill but were unable to close the gap.
“We reorganized our thoughts and started executing a little bit better [in the second set],” Weimer said. “Confidence started to build when we got a block or two on [Jendryk]. He had a tremendous match. We just couldn’t quite finish it.”