It was mission accomplished for Sandburg on two fronts Tuesday.
The Eagles beat visiting Lockport 25-16, 25-16 to maintain their spot at the top of the SouthWest Suburban Blue.
They also raised plenty of money for cancer research in a Volley/Dig for the Cure event.
The cause has hit home at Sandburg, where the students and faculty are still in mourning over the recent passing of water polo coach Jane Caliendo.
“I’m friends with most of the swim people and I know it hurt them badly when she passed away,” Sandburg senior Sami Knight said. “We did this all for her.”
The event drew the biggest crowd for a Sandburg volleyball match this season.
“When Coach Cal passed everyone got involved,” senior Julia Borschel said. “We had a huge fan section come out today because we know this is going to help others in her situation. All of those who were affected by her passing wanted to come out. It was really nice that everyone came out to participate.”
On the court the Eagles (22-5, 4-0) maintained the upper hand due mostly to domination at the net by Leah Lane (8 kills) and Borschel (4 kills). Knight had 21 assists and seven digs, and Kathleen Bollito three aces, three kills and three blocks.
Lockport (10-17, 2-2) was paced by Julia Elsouso (4 kills), Lindsey Visvardis (10 digs), Morgan Valleyu (7 assists) and Olivia Witsaman (5 assists).
Lane, Borschel and Gillian Thanasouras all came out swinging early in Game 1, as the Eagles raced to a 7-2 advantage and built from there.
“We knew that today was going to be a good test to get ready for this weekend (Maine West Pumpkin),” Borschel said. “We wanted to come out strong. We worked on blocking (Monday) so that was something we wanted to focus on. We’re going to be playing good-hitting teams this weekend.”
Lane was part of an early runaway in Game 2, with a block and a kill in a 6-0 opening salvo. But this time Lockport didn’t fade. Meredith Friscia gave the Porters a spark with pair of kills, and then served up back-to-back aces as they rallied back as close as 16-15.
Sandburg, though, had a finishing kick with Lane at the service line and scored the final seven points of the match despite some ferocious back row defense by the Porters, Visvardis in particular.
“We came out wanting to win with so much fire, but they had such a strong force at the net,” Visvardis said. “Between their blocking and their hitting, they were making a lot of smart plays.
“Maybe it was frustrating our hitters a little bit. We just kind of got overpowered.”