Boys Volleyball: Waubonsie Valley tops Benet, avenges lossTyler House (19) goes up to spike the ball while flanked by Waubonsie Valley teammates Jon Pyne (15) and Luke Furman (10). | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 28, 2012 7:05PM
What a difference a day makes.
Less than 24 hours after the hosts defeated Waubonsie Valley in straight sets in pool play of the Benet Invitational, the two teams met again in the championship. This time, the Warriors had the final word, beating the Redwings 25-22, 16-25, 25-23 to claim the tournament title.
Mike Storm had 13 kills and an ace, sophomore Mike Simmons had 12 kills, and Luke Furman added 30 assists, two kills and an ace as Waubonsie Valley improved to 23-5 and stated its case for a top four seed at the Wheaton Warrenville South sectional.
“We brought our ‘A’ game today,” Waubonsie Valley coach Al Lagger said. “We talked yesterday on the bus and the kids understand now they’ve got to come out on fire. They did that this morning against Mundelein. They got all their guys back from prom last night and really battled us.
“Then we knew Glenbard West was going to be a tough match,” he added. “They’re a very good team, very well coached. We knew we had to do our best, but we knew if we came out and played like we did (last weekend against Stevenson), we were going to be fine. Same thing in the championship match.”
Riding the momentum of its 25-22, 17-25, 25-18 semifinal victory over No. 5 Glenbard West, Waubonsie Valley raced to a 19-12 lead in Game 1 against Benet. But the Redwings, who rallied from a 21-17 deficit to beat Neuqua Valley 25-22, 25-19 in their semifinal, would not go down easy.
The Redwings (22-5) got within 23-22 on a block by middle blocker Matt Conroy. But two hitting errors, the second at set point, gave Waubonsie Valley the early momentum. Or so the Warriors thought.
“We started out really well in the first game, but we got a little cocky in the second game and they just beat us up,” Simmons said.
Benet broke a 9-9 tie in game 2 with a 12-4 run to even the match at a set apiece. The Redwings then used another 12-4 run to grab a 20-17 lead in Game 3. However, this time Waubonsie Valley had an answer.
“We just knew we had to get the ball in play,” Furman said. “That was the biggest thing, get the ball in play. It gives them more opportunities to make mistakes. That’s what we ended up doing at end of the game and that’s how we came back.”
The Warriors scored five unanswered points, the last two on kills by Storm, to grab a 22-20 lead. Two Waubonsie errors got Benet within 2 3-22, but Simmons and Storm sandwiched kills around a teammate’s hitting error to end the match.
“This is huge mentally,” Simmons said. “We beat Glenbard West. They’re the fifth team in the state. We know now we can play with anyone. We beat Benet once before (at Marist), but when they beat us yesterday we got down on ourselves. Now we’re all back up.”
Luke Ladowski led Benet with 19 kills and seven digs, Bobby Wehrli added 15 kills and seven digs, Pat Dougherty had 39 assists and Kevin Weithers was credited with 18 digs.
“It’s an intense match when we replaying Waubonsie Valley,” Benet coach Amy Van Eekeren said. “They’re a great, great team. I think they really turned it on on the outsides. Their outsides played well end of the match.
“It was a phenomenal tournament, and there are a lot of positives we can take from this,” she added. “We had a couple of ups and downs, but overall there were great things that we can take from this. Most of these teams are in our sectional. We’re definitely going to see these teams again.”
Glenbard West (18-3) finished third, bouncing back from its semifinal loss to Waubonsie Valley to defeat Neuqua Valley (20-9) 25-14, 25-18.