Girls Volleyball: St Charles East takes down Glenbrook South
Updated: November 5, 2011 9:09PM
St. Charles East standout Meghan Niski wanted no part of having an off night that might end her stellar high school career.
But after not playing her best volleyball, the James Madison-bound outside hitter saw her team drop the first game of Saturday’s Class 4A Elmhurst supersectional to Glenbrook South by a 25-21 count. The underdog and under-.500 Titans surprised the Saints and put themselves just one game from advancing downstate and into a semifinal matchup Friday at Illinois State University.
But Niski, who helped St. Charles East win the state title as a freshman back in 2008, will get another trip to the finals after she and fellow senior Nichole Lambert (six kills, four blocks) helped the Saints (34-6) storm back to take the final two games 25-8 and 25-17 to end Glenbrook South’s Cinderella run to the Elite Eight.
“I was really mad at myself for that first game. I knew I needed to step it up,” said Niski, who finished the night with a match-high 12 kills and also 9 digs. ”I didn’t want to end my high school career thinking about the last game and with me playing my worst. I started playing better in the second game and everyone stepped up.”
The Saints were sloppy in the opener, missing serves and struggling with their passing. But everything clicked in the second game as St. Charles East (34-6) broke from a 4-4 tie by going on a 21-4 run to knot the match up at one game apiece.
Lambert wreaked havoc on the Titans in the middle, recording three blocks during a 7-2 Saints’ run to a 17-7 lead. She added another block for a 24-7 lead that set the stage for Niski’s soaring kill that closed out the middle game.
“Nichole was on a mission so to speak,” said Saints coach Jennie Kull, who will now make her fifth trip downstate with the program, including titles in 2001 and 2008. “She really made it happen.”
St. Charles East, which will now face a Benet Academy squad that has already beaten it three times this fall, jumped ahead in the decisive game Saturday 10-3. But the Saints had to withstand a late Titans’ charge as Glenbrook South closed to within 13-12 and trailed 15-13 before the Saints closed out the big win with a balanced attack down the stretch.
Senior defensive specialist Maisey Mulvey had 20 digs and setter Erienne Barry 27 assists and 7 digs for the Saints. Kelsey Eeningenburg paced the Titans with 5 kills, Olivia Nelson’s blocking sparked the Game 3 rally, and Carson Weaver added 20 assists for Glenbrook South.