Boys Volleyball: Downers South captures Springfest in stunning fashion
Updated: April 7, 2012 6:40PM
Downers Grove South was awarded the top seed at the Springfest 2012 tournament hosted by Glenbard East based on their tournament championship a year ago, but nobody really expected them to win it again this year especially after they came in with a 2-3 record.
So much for the naysayers.
The Mustangs surprised Benet 18-25, 25-19, 15-11 in pool play, and stunned Glenbard East 18-25, 25-23, 26-24 and Neuqua Valley 25-23, 21-25, 25-21 in the championship bracket Saturday to win their second consecutive Springfest title.
Downers South (7-3) had to overcome a 24-20 deficit in Game 3 to get past Glenbard East in the semifinals and fought back from a 10-2 deficit in Game 1 against Neuqua Valley to take an early lead in that match.
“The guys are fighters,” Downers South coach Kurt Steuer said. “We had to come back a couple times in a couple of games to battle it out and win. The big thing is they believe in each other. They put trust in each other that they’ll come through in the end.
“I like their fight,” he added. “No one expected us to get this far in this tournament.”
After climbing out of a 10-2 hole to win Game 1 of the title match, Downers South took a 21-18 lead in Game 2 on an ace by setter Jordan Pawlicki. But that was the last point the Mustangs would score. Neuqua Valley reeled off the next seven points to force a third set.
Neuqua Valley fell behind 20-16 in Game 3, but two kills by Thomas Stevens and a pair of putaways by Connor Richardson got the Wildcats within 21-20. That’s when the Mustangs’ Greg Garro made sure that there would be no repeat of the second-game collapse.
“I was thinking about it a little bit,” Garro said.
Garro scored three of the next four points on two kills and a block to complete the Mustangs’ run.
“As long as we play to the best of our capabilities, play as a team and play the right way, we can surprise people,” Garro said. “We sure did surprise a few people today. We didn’t get much of a chance from anyone, but we pulled it out.”
Nick Timreck led Downers South with 10 kills, Andy Kryk added eight kills and Paul Howatt had six. CJ Blaha contributed 15 assists and an ace and Pawlicki had 11 assists and three aces.
Connor Richardson led a balanced Neuqua Valley attack with nine kills and four blocks, Trey Dimond and Jake Gerald each had seven kills and Thomas Stevens had six. Ryan Cahill had 31 assists for the Wildcats.
Neuqua Valley coach Erich Mendoza said that getting up big in Game 1 might have been the worst thing to happen to the Wildcats.
“I think the guys thought they had the first game won after we went up 10-2,” he said. “I think that was the difference in the match. We got complacent and we let our guard down. We didn’t play very good defense or serve receive very well in that first game.
“Then we exerted so much energy in Game 2 we came up short in the end,” he added. “Hopefully, when we get up like that again we don’t let other teams back into it. That was a game that really hurt. We should have won that first game.”
Glenbard East (9-2) bounced back from its semifinal loss to defeat St. Francis (7-2) 25-11, 25-20 for third place. Glenbard West (6-1), which lost to Glenbard East 17-25, 27-25, 15-11 in pool play, defeated West Aurora 25-17, 15-25, 25-20 for fifth place.