Andi Davenport paces Naperville Central past Wheaton South

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Just the sight of Wheaton Warrenville South orange and black reminded Andi Davenport of how far come Naperville Central has come in a short time.

“That first match with them was one we weren’t necessarily proud of,” said Davenport, the Redhawks senior setter. “I definitely wasn’t happy with how I played.”

Central can better quantify its progress since that two-game loss at the Wheaton Classic after the Redhawks turned the tables with a 25-23, 25-21 DuPage Valley win Tuesday in Naperville.

Close losses have been no stranger to Central (11-9, 3-3) this season, but not this time. In a tight match that saw 12 ties in Game 1 and a see-saw Game 2, the Redhawks made enough clutch plays when it counted.

“We’ve worked hard in practice to learn from our losses,” said Davenport, who set 22 assists. “This match, we were a lot more patient. We never let things get out of hand.”

That was evident in Game 2, when Central watched a seemingly commanding 14-7 lead evaporate and WW South (7-13, 2-3) surge ahead 16-15 on back-to-back Redhawks errors.

It remained back-and-forth the rest of the way, until at 22-21, the Tigers were whistled for a double-contact violation. Lianna White landed an ace for the Redhawks and WW South hit one long at match point.

“It was nice to see our girls stay composed when we got down and make a run of their own,” Central coach Jeff Danbom said.

The biggest margin was four points in Game 1, WW South taking its last lead at 23-22 on Erin Staunton’s kill off a slide play. But the Tigers served into the net to give back serve, Central freshman Sarah Schank landed an ace of her own, and at game point, Sam Herron dropped in an off-balance kill off one leg.

Herron had nine kills and nine digs, Phoebe Havenaar five kills and Schank six kills and four digs. Schank, on varsity all year but just inserted as a starter this week, hardly looked like a freshman at crunch time.

“She’s a kid that goes up and swings,” said Danbom, whose other freshman — setter Brenna Hess — was just cleared from mononucleosis Tuesday. “When the game is on the line, she’ll ask for the ball.”

Kristin Martin had eight kills, Jayne LaBelle four kills and three blocks, Staunton three kills and three blocks and Rachel Burau 18 assists for WW South. Tigers coach Bill Schreier didn’t need to look too deep into his stat book to find answers for the loss.

WW South missed eight serves — six in Game 2 alone — and at critical times. One came down 20-18, another after the Tigers had clawed back to tie it 15-15 in Game 2 and a third trailing 19-18.

“When push comes to shove we’re not executing and we’re missing way too many serves,” Schreier said. “You miss the amount of serves we did and end up losing the match by a combined six points, I can’t take any solace in that.”

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