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Girls volleyball: West Aurora keeps share of DVC lead

West Aurora's Demi Heiss goes up for kill against Naperville North's Becky Welsh (12) Maddi Henry (17). | Sean King~For

West Aurora's Demi Heiss goes up for a kill against Naperville North's Becky Welsh (12) and Maddi Henry (17). | Sean King~For Sun-Times Media.

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Updated: November 13, 2012 6:33AM



West Aurora’s volleyball team stayed on track to win a share of the DuPage Valley Conference championship Thursday, but Naperville North made them earn it.

“Naperville North is a tough team. We won in two very tight games the first time we played,” said Blackhawks’ coach Kari Nicholson, whose team dropped a 25-12 decision in the opening game but stormed back to win in three by taking the next two 25-19, 25-12.

The win lifts West Aurora to 25-3 overall and 11-1 in the league with two matches remaining. North falls to 19-8 and 9-3 and plays crosstown rival and the other league co-leader, Naperville Central, on Tuesday.

“I think we played OK (in the first game), we just couldn’t put a ball down,” said Nicholson. “I thought our passing was good. We made a couple serving errors but we hit it right at a defender.”

West senior leader Lauren Carlini, who had four of the team’s six hitting errors in that first game, said, “I don’t think we took them lightly. We haven’t had a home game in four matches and we had some jitters and were a little off in the first game.

“We were all just a little off and I wasn’t being very smart about my decisions.”

Carlini and Nicholson rallied the troops after the first game and the Blackhawks took control. Senior outside hitter Peyton McKenzie had an ace and Carlini (18 assists) set Demi Heiss for a kill on a two-point run that boosted West from a 15-13 lead to 17-13 in the second game.

Carlini, who finished with 10 kills and four blocks, had a five-point service run with an ace early in the decisive third game. She then served up seven straight points, three on aces, to close it out.

Senior right side Kaitlyn Richter had nine kills for West and McKenzie added eight. Elli Martin had 12 assists and Abriya Zeitz added four blocks.

“I think the first game was definitely our best game of the season,” said Naperville North coach Jennifer Urban. “I thought West Aurora made some errors but on our side it was really clean ball control and we ran a fast offense.”

Senior outside hitter Corinne Gajcak led the Huskies with 12 kills while 6-foot-3 sophomore middle Megan Wernette added seven.

“In the second and third games West Aurora had very few errors,” said Urban. “I think that we played hard but made too many errors in the end.”

Sophomore setter Emily Kwak had 28 assists for Naperville North, which got 13 digs from Colleen Larson and 10 from Ellie Ivancich.

“(Carlini) got on a couple strong runs in that third game and when we made the pass, we couldn’t find the play, hitting-wise, and vice-versa,” said Urban. “We couldn’t find that good steady play during game three.”



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