When he saw his team make a poor adjustment to a hit by South Elgin’s Nate Marotta, St. Charles North coach Todd Weimer called timeout after just the first point of Thursday’s nonconference match at home.
“We know the ball’s going to 16 (Marotta) and what did we do?” Weimer said. “We watched him hit the ball on the first play.”
Marotta hit the ball a lot more times after that as well as South Elgin went on to a satisfying first-ever victory over the North Stars in an Upstate Eight Conference crossover match 25-15, 25-22.
Marotta, a senior outside hitter who will play football at Dayton next year, put down 10 kills and served up five aces with a vicious jump serve as the Storm improved to 14-4 on the year.
“This is definitely his best match I think I’ve seen in this season,” South Elgin coach Adam Plach said. “I think, especially focusing into football for the next year and everthing, he’s bulked up a little bit, he’s gained some size. And I think he’s kind of trying to adjust to that body right now.
“He started off a little slow this season, but he’s one of those guys we’re going to be depending on, especially late in games. So hopefully he’s kind of found that rhythm back. Hopefully he can get into that mode where he can take over games again.”
Marotta took over the first game completely with six kills and four aces. He got the serve back with a kill for a 14-10 lead, then served three consecutive aces after a North hitting error. The Stars never recovered from that 18-10 deficit and Marotta got the final two points of the game on kills.
“The passes were there, the sets were going well and we got our offense going right from the top,” Marotta said. “I definitely feel I can get other teams out of their system just from my jump serve.”
The taller Storm also had a strong night blocking in the middle from Ian Sexton, who he finished with four kills, as did Dan Gibadlo and Owen Bott. Setter Chris Gibadlo had 19 assists.
St. Charles North (11-13) only mounted a challenge in the second set after the Storm put in some reserves. The Stars cut a 14-7 deficit to 21-20, but again Marotta made a kill and Sexton a block kill to turn it back South Elgin’s way.
North came in off a big win Tuesday over St. Charles East, and had a hard time bouncing back after it. Silly mistakes, like a substitution error, plagued the Stars all night.
“The biggest difference was you had one team showing up tonight,” Weimer said. “I don’t care about height, I don’t care about how tall you are. I don’t care about how short you are.”
Playing without senior libero Nic Cook due to an abdominal muscle tear and also without middle Tyler DeMoss didn’t help.
“The best thing that happened was that this wasn’t the playoffs, this wasn’t a conference championship game,” Weimer said.