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The 100th consecutive American Schools in Italy League volleyball victory by Aviano’s defending European Division II champion girls came in straight sets Saturday. But it didn’t come easily.

"Sig played a fantastic game," Aviano coach Hans Hillestad said by telephone after his team’s 25-20, 25-22, 25-23 victory over Sigonella. "(Sigonella coach) Shawn McCarthy had them playing out of their minds."

Jasmine Mailoto hammered 10 kills and Kaeleigh Mauntel collected seven in the landmark match, Hillestad said.

"Sig played awesome," Aviano captain Kelly Connolly said of the Division IV opponents. "We had to fight our way through every set."

Connolly, who came to Aviano last year, said her team is thrilled by the victory. "We’re all really stoked," she said. "It was a big deal to all of us. We weren’t playing just for us, but for lots of girls who played here in the past."

Connolly had 10 kills and Mailoto seven in Saturday’s second match, a 25-15, 25-14, 25-21 conquest of host American Overseas School of Rome that ran the string to 101. Aviano last lost a league match in 1999, when Naples beat the Saints in the semifinals of the defunct ASIL tournament.

"We’ll be more relaxed now," said Connolly, who admitted to feeling some nerves before the Sigonella match. "We just want to keep the streak going."


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