Tag Archives: high school volleyball

Boys Volleyball: Glenbard East Shuts Down DGS To Claim Regional Title

Glenbard East poses with its regional championship plaque.

Glenbard East’s play at the net was so dominating during Wednesday’s West Aurora regional final against Downers Grove South, it was as if Joey Farrell, Matt Ploke and Tim Shenkin formed a brick wall over the net.

Farrell had 12 kills and two blocks, Ploke had eight kills and two blocks and Shenkin added three kills and four blocks as the Rams knocked off the Mustangs 25-14, 25-17.

“I thought our blocking was absolutely fantastic. It was just lights out and so was our defense,” Glenbard East coach Marci Maier said. “We were firing on multiple cylinders and we always like to see that in the postseason.”

Glenbard East, the No. 2 seed in the Wheaton Warrenville South sectional, moves on to face sixth-seeded Benet at 7:30 p.m. Friday in a sectional semifinal.

The Rams came out of the gate strong, taking a 5-1 lead in Game 1 and never looking back. Glenbard East ended the game on a 7-1 run that featured three kills from Farrell. The junior outside hitter tallied eight kills in Game 1.

“We lost to DGS in our tournament earlier this year. We really wanted to send a message and let them know that we really wanted to win regionals,” Farrell said. “They’re a great team, but we came out with a lot of energy and we came out on top today.”

Downers South (25-11) held its only leads of the match early in Game 2, going ahead 1-0 and 2-1. But the Rams took over from there, going on a 7-2 run powered by two kills and a block from Ploke to take an 8-4 lead. Glenbard East (32-6) would never lose its advantage, going on the win Game 2 25-17.

The Mustangs were unable to win more than two points in row during the match.

“They looked pretty impressive tonight. We couldn’t shut them down, we couldn’t get touches on the ball. At times, we played alright with them, but they had it tonight,” Downers South coach Kurt Steuer said. “Glenbard East is a high energy team. You can’t measure chemistry and they’ve got that on the court.”

Outside hitter Greg Garro had seven kills to lead the Mustangs. Libero David DeMarco had 11 digs and setter C.J. Blaha added 10 assists.

Farrell believes the Rams are playing with the right intensity heading into Friday’s semifinal match against Benet.

“I feel like its going to be a great match, but if we play as good as we did tonight, we’ll come out on top.”

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times and yourseason.com. It appears here.

Downers South lines up for the National Anthem before Wednesday’s game.

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Boys Volleyball: West Aurora’s Season Ends In Thriller Against Downers South

Downers South lines up before its regional semifinal against West Aurora

West Aurora wasn’t going to end its season without a fight.

The Blackhawks fought off three match points in the second game of their regional semifinal match against Downers Grove South, but it wasn’t enough.

On the Blackhawks fourth attempt at extending their season, middle hitter James McGrath’s block attempt landed out off bounds, giving the Mustangs a 29-27 Game 2 victory.

Downers South, the No. 7 seed in the Wheaton Warrenville South sectional, won the match 25-22, 29-27 and will face second-seeded Glenbard East Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in the West Aurora regional final.

“The boys were resilient. They were going to work on every point, there was no doubt about it,” West Aurora coach Tolis Koskinaris said. “In the end, Downers South was just a little bit tougher at the net than us tonight. It was a close match, it came down to a couple blocks and they did a better job than we did.”

The 11th-seeded Blackhawks dropped a back-and-forth first game that featured 14 ties and four lead changes. After his team fell behind 22-20, Downers South coach Kurt Steuer called a timeout to regroup. The Mustangs responded by winning the next five points and the game.

The Blackhawks made four errors in the final five points of the first game, and they carried over that sluggish play into the second game. The Blackhawks fell behind 9-5, but they were able to recover and stage a comeback. After getting within one point seven different times, the Blackhawks finally tied the game at 21-21. Nine points later, West Aurora took its first and only lead of the game, 26-25, on a kill by outside hitter Eric Roggeman.

However, Downers South (25-10) sophomore Mike Schmitt stole the show from that point forward. The outside hitter had three kills during the final five points of the match as the Mustangs clinched a regional semifinal victory.

“He’s stepped in and done some nice things on the outside for us,” Steuer said. “He’s proven himself to these guys, as young as he is. He’s done some big things, and we’re happy with what we’ve seen from him.”

Roggeman and outside hitter David Vasquez each had eight kills to lead the Blackhawks. McGrath added five kills and two blocks.

West Aurora finishes its season with 23 wins and 13 losses. The Blackhawks won two tournaments and set a school record for regular season wins with 22.

“I’m proud of the guys, they had a good run. Good season. We accomplished a lot of things,” Koskinaris said. “Tonight, it was two points, they were just a little bit better than us. I believe they felt they could have won this match.”

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times, Aurora Beacon and yourseason.com. It appears here.

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Boys Volleyball: Glenbard East Blows Past Oswego, Into Regional Final

The two teams meet at midcourt before Tuesday’s regional semifinal.

Glenbard East was just too much to handle for Oswego on Tuesday night.

The Rams never trailed as they defeated the Panthers 25-13, 25-16 in a semifinal game of the West Aurora regional.

Glenbard East (31-6), the No. 2 seed in the Wheaton Warrenville South sectional, moves on to face seventh-seeded Downers Grove South on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the regional title game.

“We were outmatched,” Oswego coach Amie West said. “They run a really fast offense and we haven’t seen anything like that. Glenbard East is a great school, they run a great program.”

In Game 1, the Rams used a 7-0 run to take a commanding 13-3 lead, and never looked back, winning the game 25-13. Glenbard East outside hitter Joey Farrell helped set the tone early, tallying eight kills in Game 1.

“I thought they came out well. We had good energy, as we should in a regional game. Joe was on top of his game,” Glenbard East coach Marci Maier said.

The second game didn’t go much better for the Panthers. Glenbard East shot out to 5-0 lead, as outside hitter Ben Haimann and middle hitter Tim Shenkin each provided two kills and two blocks. The Rams stretched their lead to 12 as they won Game 2 25-16.

Middle hitter Freddy Miller led the Panthers with seven kills and three blocks in their final game of the season.

“We are a really good team. They had a ton of potential and they had heart,” West said. “They knew it was going to be difficult, but they had heart, they played with pride, and that’s all I can ask from these boys.”

Maier is hoping her Rams can get some revenge in Wednesday night’s regional final.

“Downers Grove South beat us in our home tournament, so we’re hoping the outcome is different this time,” Maier said.

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times, Aurora Beacon and yourseason.com. It appears here.

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Boys Volleyball: Eric Roggeman Leads West Aurora Into Regional Semifinals

West Aurora huddles before its regional quarterfinal match against St. Joseph.

West Aurora outside hitter Eric Roggeman set the tone early as the Blackhawks defeated St. Joseph 25-6, 25-16 Monday night in an opening round game of the West Aurora regional.

Roggeman tallied two kills and an ace in the first five points of the match as West Aurora shot out to an early 4-1 lead. Later in the game, the Blackhawks went on a 13-0 run that gave them a commanding 18-3 lead. St. Joseph made 13 errors as it dropped the first game 25-6.

“He came out ready to play. His hits were very clean. He’s very committed to ending strong his senior year,” West Aurora coach Tolis Koskinaris said of Roggeman. “I know he really badly wants to do this, and it showed today.”

St. Joe’s play improved in the second game, and after a 7-2 Chargers run, the game was tied 14-14. However, the Blackhawks answered back immediately, going on a 11-2 run to clinch a 25-16 victory.

“Today was one of those games where you’ve got to stay consistent. You can’t let your guard down, because these are the teams that sneak up on you and come back when you don’t expect them to,” Roggeman said.

“They gave us a little bit of a scare in the second game, but we know we’re the better team, and we finished it out strong.”

Roggeman led the Blackhawks with nine kills while middle hitter Joe Frommert and outside hitter David Vasquez each added five. Libero Patrick Ronan had 11 digs.

No. 11 seeded West Aurora will take on No. 7 seeded Downers Grove South Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. in a regional semifinal game. Koskinaris said he expects a tough battle.

“It’s going to be a very good game tomorrow night. I expect nothing less. It’s going to be close, and it’s going to be good,” Koskinaris said.

Roggeman said the Blackhawks are up to the task thanks to their tough DuPage Valley Conference schedule.

“I’ve never seen them play, but I’ve heard they’re pretty good,” Roggeman said. “But we’ve played some pretty darn good teams, so I’m ready for the challenge.”

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times, Aurora Beacon and yourseason.com. It appears here.

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Boys Volleyball: Oswego Knocks Off East, Advances To Regional Semifinals

Oswego East lines up for the National Anthem on Monday.

Winning a playoff game is always exciting, but it’s even sweeter when you get to knock out your biggest rival.

That’s exactly what Oswego did on Monday night, defeating crosstown foe Oswego East 25-14, 25-20 in an opening round game of the West Aurora regional. It was the Panthers’ third victory against the Wolves this season.

“The crosstown rivalry definitely added a lot more to this game,” Oswego outside hitter Trevor Hamman said. “We play them every year and for the seniors, it was the last time they’ll ever play them. We wanted it more because it that.”

Oswego shot out to an early 11-3 in the first game and never looked back. Middle hitter Freddy Miller had five kills and a block and outside hitter Quentin Kovac had four kills and a block as the Panthers took the first game 25-14.

In the second game, the Wolves capitalized on seven early errors by the Panthers to take an 9-5 lead. However, the Panthers captured the lead with a 6-0 run that featured two kills and a block from middle hitter Brandon Garcia, and never relinquished the lead.

Oswego coach Amie West said that Hamman – who had four kills in the second game – was the key to the Panthers’ 25-20 victory in game two.

“Trevor did a fantastic job in the second game. He really stepped it up, and got some really good kills,” West said. “Our passing struggled a little so we couldn’t go to our middles as much as we’d like, so we turned to him.”

Miller led the Panthers with eight kills, while Kovac had seven and middle hitter Kevin Oppe had five. Garcia had three kills and two blocks.

Setter Blake Izzo had four kills to lead the Wolves, while middle hitter Ryan Passini added three kills and a block.

The No. 15 seeded Panthers will face No. 2 seed Glenbard East on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. in a regional semifinal.

“We have not seen them at all this year. I know that they’re ranked No. 2, so they’re a very good team. You beat good teams by having a lot of heart,” West said.

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times, Aurora Beacon and yourseason.com. It appears here.

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Boys Volleyball: Sophomore Simmons Shines As Waubonsie Knocks Off Metea

The teams gather on the court pregame for the National Anthem.

Waubonsie Valley has made a habit this season of coming back from the brink of defeat. Things were no different on Tuesday as the Warriors fought off five game points in the second game of their 25-23, 28-26 victory over host Metea Valley.

The Warriors had previously come back in matches against Marist and Glenbard West.

“We know that when we get in that position, we can come back. It’s not a done deal,” said Waubonsie Valley coach Al Lagger. “We know that’s prime time for us, we can step it up and do what we need to do.”

Waubonsie Valley (24-5, 4-0) trailed 24-20 in the second game on Tuesday before going on a 5-0 run that featured a kill and block from outside hitter Mike Storm.

The Warriors then lost back-to-back points, and faced another Mustangs game point – their fifth – at 26-25.

Waubonsie came back again to win three straight points, the last coming on an ace by middle Seth Salmon, to win the game and the match.

The back-and-forth second game featured 12 ties and seven lead changes.

Outside hitter Mike Simmons, who led the Warriors with 16 kills, said the team’s practice routine – with a threat of running – has helped build a never-say-die attitude.

“We have a lot of fight. We’ll never quit on a game, we always know we can come back and win,” said Simmons. “At practice, we always start off down and have to come back and win the game or else we have to run. That really helped today.”

Setter Luke Furman had 21 assists, two kills and two aces, Storm had eight kills and an ace and middle Tyler House had two kills and two blocks as the Warriors improved to 4-0 against Upstate Eight Valley competition.

Simmons had eight kills in the Warriors’ 25-23 opening game win. After Metea tied the game at 21-21, Simmons had two kills and a block as the Warriors went on a 4-2 run to finish off the game. The 6’6” sophomore’s perfectly-placed tap over two leaping Mustangs on game point gave the Warriors an early advantage.

Simmons’ strong play on Tuesday drew high praise from Lagger.

“He’s a consummate leader. He puts the ball in play when he has to, he swings hard when he has to,” said Lagger. “He’s a very intelligent player. If he sees a triple block, he’ll go up there and tip it in over the block.”

Outside hitter Martin Krasuski had seven kills and two blocks and opposite hitter Adam Miller had five kills and five blocks to lead the Mustangs.

Metea Valley (19-10, 2-4) coach John Aister is looking for someone to step up late in games for the Mustangs.

“I’d say half our losses this season have been just like today,” said Aister. “We’ve been up in a match, we’ve had control of a game, and we just can’t finish. We just need that one person to close for us.”

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times, Aurora Beacon and yourseason.com. It appears here

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Boys Volleyball: Minooka Towers Over Oswego East In Conference Victory

Oswego East huddles during a timeout in the first game of Thursday’s match.

Minooka’s boys volleyball team stood tall as the Indians defeated host Oswego East 25-8, 25-16 in a Southwest Prairie Conference match on Thursday.

The Indians, led by 6’9” middle Justin Toth, 6’6” middle Maalik Walker and 6’4” outside hitter Richard Bishop, towered over the Wolves as they cruised to a two game victory.

“It’s hard, you’re looking at college teams that are that tall. I was telling my guys to tool the block, because I knew they could block us straight on,” said Oswego East coach Jim Mueller.

“We were worried about Walker, he’s pretty good. He’s just so tall, he’s way over us. If he gets a good set, there’s nothing you can do.”

Walker led the Indians with six blocks and added four kills and an ace. Bishop was the Indians’ kill-leader with eight, while outside hitter Nicholas Vertin added six kills. Toth had two blocks and one kill.

Setter Philip Hannon led Minooka (15-2, 6-0) with 19 assists and five digs. Indians coach Janel Grzetich credited the junior for consistently setting up big shots for his teammates.

“Our setter was making some very smart decisions in terms of where we were in the rotations, where the defense was moving and when to set them,” said Grzetich. “Once he made passes, his teammates could see the open areas and they were hitting. They did a very good job of that.”

Minooka set the the tone early, shooting out to a quick 9-0 lead in the first game. Bishop had five kills and outside hitter Ryan Bauer had three aces as the Indians cruised to a 25-8 win.

The Wolves’ play was much improved to start the second game. Setter Sam Izzo’s ace gave Oswego East (3-12-1, 0-6) an early 5-1 lead. However seven points later, a block by Walker gave the Indians their first lead of the game, 7-6, and Minooka never looked back, winning the second game 25-16.

“We were out of sorts in the first game, and we’re a lot better than that. I give them a lot of credit, they hustled every ball, they hit everything down, they just outplayed us that first game,” said Mueller. “The second game, I was happy with our effort. I told the guys, ‘play loose, have fun and just do your job,’ and we did that.”

Despite his team’s slow start to the season, Mueller believes the Wolves are not far away from competing with the conference’s best teams.

“We have to improve on our passing,” said Mueller. “As soon as we get our passing down, we can compete with anybody. I believe that.”

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times, Aurora Beacon and yourseason.com. It appears here.

I went a little photo crazy at tonight’s game. Here’s an artsy shot of Oswego East’s fearsome-looking Wolves logo.

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Boys Volleyball: Vasquez, West Aurora Hustle Past Wheaton North

The teams warm up before Thursday’s DVC match at West Aurora.

West Aurora continued its strong start in the DuPage Valley Conference with a hard fought victory over Wheaton North on Thursday.

Outside-hitter David Vasquez had 11 kills and outside-hitter Eric Roggeman registered 10 as the Blackhawks defeated the visiting Falcons 25-15, 26-24.

“Things weren’t working for us very well, I think everybody on the team would admit that. But we kept at it, we kept fighting, we kept scraping,”  said West Aurora coach Tolis Koskinaris. “Our hustle, our effort won the game for us.”

After comfortably winning the first game 25-15, the Blackhawks fell into a quick 6-0 hole in the next game. West Aurora (10-4, 3-1) fought back to tie the score seven different times before middle-hitter Joe Frommert’s kill gave the Blackhawks their first lead of the game, 25-24.

On the ensuing point, Roggeman and Patrick Ronan set up a match-sealing kill by Vasquez. The 6’2” senior credited the adept passing ability of Ronan.

“Patrick can pass the ball really well, he’s one of the best players in the conference. If he gets a pass up, you can put it down,” said Vasquez. “Patrick put the ball up on that last play, I saw a big gap in the block and swung for it.”

Vasquez said he never doubted his team’s ability to win the match, even when the Blackhawks faced an early deficit in the second game.

“We just came out really slow and it happens sometimes. We came out in a rut, but I always have faith that we can come back from those things,” said Vasquez. “It’s happened to us before, and we’ve came back. You’ve just got to fight through it.”

Middle-hitter James McGrath had five kills and his block on game-point clinched the first game for the Blackhawks.

The kill-leader for Wheaton North (5-11, 0-4) was middle-hitter Alex Jackson with six. Outside-hitter Zachery Sinn had four kills, while setter Alex Donahue had 12 assists and two blocks.

“The first game we spotted them way too many points, and they did the same thing to us in the second game. They were able to battle back a little better than we did,” said Wheaton North coach Ryan Baker. “They played well consistently through out the match, and we didn’t match that.”

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times, Aurora Beacon and yourseason.com. It appears here.

Instagram of mural in West Aurora’s gym.  I’m a sucker for Indian head logos.

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