Boys Volleyball: Lincoln-Way East wins two, advances in Tiger Classic
Updated: March 30, 2012 8:57PM
Lincoln-Way East was able to keep the bleeding to a minimum Friday and got maximum results.
The No. 6 Griffins advanced to the Gold bracket of the Tiger Classic by defeating Minooka 25-20, 25-18 and Cincinnati Moeller 23-25, 25-15, 25-9. The key, said coach Kris Fiore, was not allowing any long runs.
“I think it was consistency,” Fiore said. “When we played [Lincoln-Way] North last weekend, it wasn’t necessarily that we played bad. But we had lapses where we’d struggle and give up runs of three, four, five points and weren’t able to dig ourselves out of it.
“Tonight, we’d give up one or two points and then we’d come right back,” he said. “We were able to eliminate their runs and go on runs of our own. We didn’t do that against North, and we also made some errors at key spots in that match.”
After Lincoln-Way East (8-1) opened a 17-12 lead in Game 1 against Minooka, the Indians were never able to string more than two points together. Minooka’s best spurt in Game 2 was a 3-1 run that allowed the Indians to take a short-lived 13-12 lead.
A Minooka service error and a block by 6-5 senior Jason Garnett ignited an 8-2 run for the Griffins, who closed out the match on a kill by Erik Stanek.
“We have good team chemistry going,” said Nate Royer, who led the Griffins with seven kills. “I feel like we’re going to be a real strong team this year and contend for a state championship. What we lack in height we make up for in defense and ball control. Those are definitely our strengths.”
Royer’s brother, sophomore Austin, added 15 assists against Minooka. Libero Jake Tomaras had six digs and Kevin McClafferty had five kills, five digs and two blocks.
“We have four starters back but we’re still haven’t settled on a rotation,” Fiore said. “We’re still kind of searching, especially at the right side position. We have a battle between [6-3 senior] Steve Kolodziej and Garnett.
“Garnett started last year, but Kolodziej is on fire this year,” the coach added. “He’s hitting really well. We’ll probably mix it up depending upon matchups. Garnett is definitely our best blocker, but Steve is more of an offensive threat. It’s a nice luxury to have… two very good players.”
Minooka got five kills from 6-4 junior Matt Svetlecich, four kills from 6-2 senior Ryan Bauer and three kills and two blocks from 6-4 senior Rick Bishop. Junior setter Phil Hannon had 13 assists.
The Indians were hampered by their inability to put the ball in play.
“Oh my gosh yes,” Minooka coach Janel Grzetich said. “That’s not to take anyway from the other team and say that’s why we lost, because of service errors, because that’s not the case. We made quite a few mistakes. You can’t make mistakes like that over and over and over again against a very good team.
“The boys just have to get themselves mentally into the game,” she added. “It’s just little things. When we started to fall apart, it really fell apart. I truly believe they’re a much better team ability-wise than what they just demonstrated. I have hopes for this team.”