Both Elgin and Larkin have been struggling this season. Coming into their rivalry match Tuesday, the two teams had combined for just two victories all season long.
That fact didn’t seem to have an effect on a spirited Elgin squad as the Maroons came away with 25-18, 25-18 Upstate Eight River victory over the Royals at Elgin.
“The records don’t matter in this one,” Elgin coach Scott Stewart said. “They beat us last year and we really wanted to come out and get this one.”
Elgin (2-22, 1-1) captured the first game on the play of Jason Michalik and Ulisses Dominguez at the net during the final points. Getting nice sets from Eric Hernandez, the duo combined for four kills to help capture the Maroons’ last five points.
“It was great out there,” Michalik said. “I knew when we came out on the floor that we were going to win. We were so pumped up for this match.”
Elgin carried that momentum into the second game and jumped ahead 14-6 with the help of eight unforced errors by Larkin (1-19, 0-2). But the Royals came back to make it a match by closing the gap to 17-16, mostly behind the efforts of Rodrigo Tapia, who had seven kills, and Leo Perez. Cleo Redmond, who finished with 15 assists, found his rhythm as setter during the comeback.
“We had trouble with our energy for the entire time and you can’t do that in a rivalry match,” Larkin coach Henry Graack said. “We came back but we couldn’t dig ourselves out of the hole that we dug for ourselves.”
Michalik, Hernandez and Sajan Patel all had a kill to help finish the two-set sweep for the Maroons. Michalik and Dominguez each finished with eight kills and Hernandez was credited with 14 assists.