Boys volleyball: Balanced offense helps Naperville North top Naperville CentralNaperville Central's Jon Chiczewski spikes the ball pass Naperville North's Trevor Stables (15) on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at Naperville North High School. | Terence Guider-Shaw~For Sun-Times Media
It turns out the players on the Naperville North volleyball team just had to get to know each other a little better.
After opening the season with an unsatisfactory 2-4 record, the Huskies made it 8-2 since with an impressive 25-18, 25-12 victory over archrival Naperville Central on Thursday.
The early season inconsistencies are attributed mostly to a practically new cast of characters from the group that finished second at state last year. Star outside hitter Spencer Sauter was in place, but the rest of the team was made up of varsity reserves, junior varsity grads and transfers, and it took some time for the team to mesh. The Huskies are now 10-6 overall and 4-2 in the DVC.
“It was just a case of everyone getting acclimated,” said Huskies coach Nate Bornancin. “Most of the guys are in new roles and the setters are getting comfortable setting everyone, not just going to Spencer all the time.”
The Naperville Central match was a fine example of the balanced offense that is emerging, a modified 5-1 with setters Gert Lisha and Matt Thornton sharing the distribution responsibilities.
Kyle Losik led with seven kills, Sauter and Trevor Stables had five apiece. Lisha had four blocks and Matt Jennings added three kills and two blocks. Nikolai Jackowski was the dig leader with six.
“At the beginning of the year we were just a bunch of good individual players,” said Jennings. “But now we’re starting to come together and look like an experienced team. Tonight, we were scrappy and we never let up. Everybody was digging the ball and we were getting it over consistently.”
The Redhawks (7-10, 2-4) provided a tough challenge in the first game keeping it close throughout and trailing only 18-16 near the end. But the Huskies ran off six straight points and won going away.
Naperville Central led early in Game 2 but the Redhawks were again victimized by a pair of Huskies multi-point runs that put the game out of reach.
“We were ahead 5-4 and then we were losing 9-20,’ said Naperville Central coach Jeff Danbom. “You can’t give up a 15-4 run. You’ve got to stop the bleeding. You can’t take a moment’s rest in this game and we had periods where we lost sight of their system and we couldn’t get back in our offense.”
Danbom says the team is trying to find its speed and rhythm with four-year starting setter Albert Lei back on the floor after a long injury.
Jon Chiczewski led Central with eight kills and two digs.