Young Storm squad tops LarkinSouth Elgin's Ashley Oandasan hits into Larkin's Brianna Stewart at Larkin on Thursday. | Andrew A. Nelles~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 1, 2011 9:13PM
With as well as South Elgin played on Thursday night it was hard to believe it was the first game of the season and that the Storm only had three returning players from a year ago. Instead the Storm looked like an experienced veteran club in mid-season form as they defeated host Larkin 25-11, 25-21 in Upstate Eight Conference action.
“I didn’t see too many first game jitters,” said South Elgin coach Joni Plach. “They were anxious to get the season started. We might have started out a little tentative, but these girls aren’t afraid to swing away. It didn’t take them long to get into the rythym. It was very impressive for the first game of the year. If we can keep playing this way we have a lot to look forward to.”
South Elgin trailed 9-8 in game one before taking control with an 11-0 run to pull ahead 19-9. Corbin Kehe had a pair of aces during the run. While sophomore Amanda Nadler and freshman Ashley Oandasan each had a pair of kills. Maggie Jakaitis added an ace later in the game and Alyssa Montag closed it out with a block kill.
South Elgin had just four unforced errors in game one while connecting on 12 of 14 kill attempts and not missing a single serve.
“Our goal coming in was to have a good serve receive and limit the unforced errors,” said Plach. “ And I am really pleased with the way we played in both of those areas. To have that few errors in the first game of the season is really encouraging”
Game 2 got a little sloppy and was a little more of a struggle for South Elgin. The Storm had five missed serves and three net infractions. That allowed Larkin to lead by a narrow margin much of the way early on. Some solid play at the net kept the Storm close as they were still able to connect on 12 of 13 kill attempts. The score was tied at 14-14 when South Elgin was finally able to grab the lead for good on a kill by Alison Osborne. Bri Reum folllowed up with a pair of kills. While Nadler and Oandasan each had a kill as South Elgin extended its lead to 20-16. Larkin was able to pull to within 23-21 on an ace by Brianna Stewart, but the Royals missed on two straight kill attempts to end the game.
“Our serve wasn’t quite on in the second game,” said Plach. “But we were able to play through it. We might be a young team, but I think we are physically and mentally strong.”
The underclassmen Oandasn and Nadler each finished with six kills to lead the Storm.
Larkin (1-3, 0-2) had a difficult time getting into any kind of offensive rythym. The Royals were just 14-of-22 on kill attempts and committed a total of 21 unforced errors.
“We had an off night with our passing,” said Larkin coach .....”Volleyball is pretty simple. Pass. Set. Spike. But it’s hard to run the offense when you are struggling with the first step. I thought our hitters up front did a good job of trying to adjust to the ball, but we just weren’t getting it to them where we needed to.”
Stewart led the Royals with seven kills.