Girls Volleyball: Despite misses, St. Charles East serves up winner over Metea Valley

A familiar shortcoming surfaced Thursday night for St. Charles East.

This time, the Saints could smile and laugh it off.

The Saints committed nine service errors — six in the first game alone — but cleaned their act up in time to take care of Metea Valley 25-21, 25-15 in Aurora.

Eighteen service errors cost St. Charles East in a sectional loss to St. Charles North last year, so the last thing coach Jennie Kull wants is a carryover.

“Now we know what we have to work on,” Kull shrugged off with a smile. “I’m happy that we were able to get this out of the way early. That we were able to pull through is a good sign.”

Kull brings back seven girls off that sectional team, but this Saints group is a mixed bag of experience and youth.

Three sophomores — outsides Emily Schildmeyer and Kyla Augustine and setter Morgan Kull — all saw significant court time Thursday.

“They’re confident,” Kull said. “They all play on high-level club teams so they’ve been in that environment before.”

Metea Valley was confident about this match. The Mustangs beat St. Charles East on its home floor last year, a signature win for the young program that won 20 times in 2013.

The Mustangs carved out an 18-14 lead in the first game Thursday, an Autumn Long kill off a long rally a sure momentum-grabber.

It wasn’t. A kill by Saints senior Megan Schildmeyer started an 8-1 game-ending run. Metea gave away five points during that stretch, including a long serve at game point.

“We just didn’t execute when it came down to it,” Mustangs coach Dave MacDonald said. “We made service errors, net errors, rotation mistakes — it was frustrating. We had them on the ropes.”

MacDonald, though, is cognizant that no team is immune from first-match jitters, and starting a season against St. Charles East is no picnic. Metea is also breaking in two new setters. The Saints had already got their first match out of the way, beating Wheaton North earlier in the week.

Lexi Lobdell, a four-year varsity player, led the Mustangs with eight kills, Autumn Hagemaster had four kills and Long 10 digs.

“We’re going to get better; it’s just finding the pieces that work,” MacDonald said. “I told them that the season is a journey, and this is just the start to that journey.”

Metea did find itself within 13-11 in Game 2, but a thunderous kill from Saints middle Mikaela Mosquera put to rest any comeback thoughts. St. Charles East, up 15-13, put things away with a 5-0 run.

Mosquera, a senior, missed parts of last season with a concussion but looked strong with six kills and three blocks.

“She’s playing really well,” Kull said. “We’re blessed to have her back. Hopefully she stays healthy.”

Augustine had seven kills and Megan Schildmeyer eight assists and three aces, putting behind the Saints’ early service woes.

“Serving was definitely an issue this game and it’s something we need to continue to work on,” Schildmeyer said. “It’s one of the most important aspects of the game and something we’ll work on a lot in practice.”

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