LANSING | The score sheet was as balanced a ledger as you'll find.
T.F. South dispatched a talented Homewood-Flossmoor volleyball squad 25-19, 25-15 Wednesday in Lansing, and five different hitters partook of setter Abbe Mullen's 30 assists. Crystal Lee led the way with 12 kills as the Rebels improved to 10-1, but each of the South hitters to register a kill had at least three.
"The good thing about our lineup, I think, is we have lots of really good hitters," South coach Kim Sands said. "They really complement each other."
Jenna Pasko and Briana Lilly added seven kills each, Leah Lagestee had four and Madyson Anthony three. For all that balance, though, Mullen displayed a stubborn streak in the first set, which the Vikings (10-4) led as late as 14-13.
Though Lilly, a 6-foot-2 hitter who takes most of her swings from the outside, had South's first kill of the match, she whiffed on a quick set for her next effort, nearly did so on the one that followed — though it fell for the softest of kills — and generally appeared a bit off her game.
At 20-17, Mullen set Lilly four times in a row. The first resulted in a kill. The next two failed to find the court. That Lilly got yet another chance — she put it down to take back the serve and added an ace block as South closed out the set — was a surprise to almost everyone except Lilly.
"I really trust my setter," she said. "I knew we'd work things out.
"I know my team's not going to be hard on me, because they know I can go get it. And (Mullen) is not afraid to set me."
H-F, after a nice showing in winning the Silver division at Saturday's Champaign Centennial tourney, dropped its second straight match. Coach Tony Kruse complimented South, saying, "They're super balanced.
"They're good all the way around. Their libero (Ashtyn Kapovich, who finished with 14 digs in 14 attempts) is top-notch, and (Lee) on the outside is as good a hitter as they come."
Lee had six kills in each set. But Pasko, with an ace block, three kills and six of her eight service points on the night, starred in the second set along with Lagestee, who had four kills and an ace block.
H-F was led for the evening by Lexi Jung, who had five kills. Kandace Tate had four kills in the first set.
"Right now, we're just trying to find that go-to player, that player who's going to step up and take control of the game," Kruse said. "Right now, we don't have it."
The Vikings faded badly after losing the lead in the first set. South led by as much as 14 points, at 21-7, in the second set.
"The end of the first game really kind of did it in for us," Kruse said. "From there on out, T.F. South kind of dominated."