Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, St. Charles North’s Haley Burgdorf. If the jersey fits. ‘I always looked up’ to them.

Its power isn’t limited to just one sport.

St. Charles North’s Haley Burgdorf had Geneva’s number Tuesday night. It was the No. 23 on Burgdorf’s jersey. Does the sophomore outside hitter want to be like Mike?

You bet. Or maybe the late, great Kobe Bryant.

“I’ve always looked up to Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant and how hard they worked on their games,” Burgdorf said when asked if there was a story behind her wearing the same number as the former NBA stars for the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers.

“That, plus I sometimes stick my tongue out like Michael did when I’m playing and concentrating and focused like I should be.”

Playing for a share of the DuKane Conference title, the 6-foot Burgdorf powered the North Stars to a 25-21, 25-22 win with 14 kills, three blocks, an ace and even an assist.

The back-and-forth first game featured eight ties, the last coming at 21-21, before St. Charles North closed with a four-point run capped by a pair of powerful spikes by Burgdorf from the sets of sophomore Mia McCall.

Charlotte Potvin, a 6-2 senior middle hitter who led Geneva with four kills, a block and an ace, had a good view of Burgdorf’s performance.

“I think she is super physical,” Potvin said. “She has a lot of strength in her core and shoulder, which helps. She also has a very good volleyball IQ.

“She knows where the block is and she can tell when a shot can work, even before she tries it out.”

The win clinches a share of the conference title for St. Charles North (22-13, 6-1), which also received 10 kills from senior outside hitter Alex Bardouniotis, 17 assists from McCall and 11 assists and four kills from senior setter Kyra Treanor.

St. Charles North, Geneva (23-12, 5-2) and Wheaton Warrenville South entered Tuesday’s action in a three-way tie for the lead. The Tigers (21-13, 6-1) beat St. Charles East.

“We started slow, the energy was low and we had eight service errors,” Geneva coach Lauren Kosecki said. “We knew it was going to be a tough match.

“We haven’t played in this environment with so much riding on it, so it will be a good experience going into the playoffs.”

The North Stars struggled even more at the service line with 14 errors in the match, but they were still able to get into a good rhythm offensively.

The second game also featured eight ties with a late run by St. Charles North, culminated by Bardouniotis’ kill off Treanor’s set.

“Alex started off a little bit slow in the first set, but I was like, ‘You gotta go,’ St. Charles North coach Lindsey Hawkins said. “She really turned it on.”

It was especially gratifying for the North Stars, who have had three senior starters on the bench with injuries for several weeks. St. Charles North has regrouped led by Burgdorf, now at 316 kills for the season.

The injured include star outside hitter Katherine Scherer, a Maryland recruit, along with libero Jackie Ruder and right-side hitter Adrianna Huptych.

“She’s special,” Hawkins said of Burgdorf. “We always knew that, based on what she did last year as a freshman. She’s been learning from those seniors, and she’s quickly acclimated to ‘court coach.’

“That used to be Jackie Ruder’s role, but she talks to Haley all the time about what to say, what’s open and how to motivate the girls. She’s getting a lot of great coaching.”

Bardouniotis said she and Burgdorf have both tried to step up.

“Haley has been a huge part vocally, and obviously, with kills and execution,” Bardouniotis said. “She’s got a really good vertical. She can jump up and see where to hit it.”

Usually, it’s right on the number.


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