Wheaton North battles past Naperville North

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Abby Tiesman knew it had been “a long time” since Wheaton North last won a DuPage Valley Conference volleyball title.

Yes, a long time. Like never.

Tiesman and the Falcons are on the cusp of the program’s first now, after going into Naperville North and beating the Huskies 23-25, 25-22, 25-21 on Tuesday.

Wheaton North (23-8, 8-1), now tied with Naperville North (20-8, 8-1), can clinch at least a share of the DVC with a win Wednesday against Lake Park.

Tiesman, one-half of a dynamic junior twin combo, is a huge reason why – with 12 kills and 2.5 blocks Tuesday. Sister Grace Tiesman was right there with 10 kills and 14 digs.

“This year has been a year of firsts,” Abby Tiesman said. “We’ve been in the gold division in a lot of tournaments, and met a lot of our goals. We’re so happy for our seniors to hopefully send them out DVC champs.”

Wheaton North flipped the script on the teams’ first match in Wheaton, a three-setter won by Naperville North after it dropped the first. A net violation at 23-23 in Game 1 Tuesday cost the Falcons, but they were not to be denied.

“We knew we could do it,” Tiesman said. “We were so close the last time.”

Naperville North can wrap up a piece of its second straight DVC title by beating Glenbard North Thursday — and did everything in its power to make it an outright championship. The Huskies threw themselves all of the court to turn back Wheaton North’s heavy hitters, Emily Bushman delivering 17 digs and Jillian Schulte 13. Even seemingly out of it down 21-11 in the third, the Huskies closed to within 23-19.

Abby Tiesman had the answer, smashing a quick-set kill off a helpless Huskies defender. A point after Jenna LaCorte’s kill for Naperville North, Grace Tiesman buried a spike from the left pin for match point.

“Wheaton North, they played a pretty flawless match,” Naperville North coach Jennifer Urban said. “It certainly wasn’t for a lack of effort.”

The match was befitting one for the conference title, neither giving an inch. The Game 1 margin was only greater than two once, 18-15 after a well-placed Megan Wernette hit into the back corner. Wheaton North came right back to tie Game 1 three more times, until the net violation set up Schulte’s ace at game point.

Unfazed, Wheaton North came right back to take a see-saw Game 2, then seized control of the third with a 5-0 run Abby Tiesman started with a quick-set kill and ended with a block.

“It was great play on both sides,” Wheaton North coach Carole Kristensen said. “The girls believe in themselves. Oh my gosh, so many words.”

Wernette had 14 kills and LaCorte seven, but it wasn’t enough against Wheaton North’s onslaught of attackers. Alexandra Adams came alive with five kills, including game point in the second, and even setter Kelly Thornton had five kills to go with 31 assists.

“Their hitters, when they were one-on-one, scored,” Urban said. “We needed a couple more hitters to execute offensively. We’re always looking for three attackers to be scoring for us. We didn’t have that [Thursday].”

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