Boys Volleyball: Lincoln-Way Central tops Joliet CatholicLincoln-Way Central's Matt Clark (left) celebrates with teammates after defeating Joliet Catholic Academy during their volleyball game in New Lenox Monday, March 19, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Friends since they played together as a sophomore and freshman, Lincoln-Way Central’s Clay Hermann and Austin Overby have their own unique prematch ritual.
“We always make bets before the game, see who can play better,” Hermann said. “We’re always helping and picking each other up.”
Who won the bet after host Central’s 25-18, 25-16 win Monday over Joliet Catholic? Consider it a push.
Hermann had five kills and four blocks, to go with Overby’s five kills and three aces to lead the Knights (1-0).
“(Clay’s and Austin’s) size is a huge factor for us, and they’re very good together,” Central coach Joann Holverson said. “And Matt Nawa is a very strong, consistent player. We only have two returning starters, but I think the other boys will do very well.”
Matt Clark (11 assists, 3 aces) and Nawa (3 aces, 4 kills) also chipped in for Central. Mike O’Neill and Adam Lancaster had five kills apiece for Joliet Catholic (0-1), with Nolan Hucek adding 11 assists.
Having lost the first game, Joliet Catholic turned a page in the second and took a 4-0 lead. The Hilltoppers fell apart serving and passing, though, with nine straight unforced errors turning the tide. Jacob Sobkoviak finally scored a point for Central to put the Knights up 10-8.
Quiet early, Hermann came to life. With the Knights leading 13-10, the senior middle had three kills and three blocks as part of a 10-2 run to put the team up as many as 11 points late.
“We started playing defense and started closing a lot better,” Hermann said. “Our back row is pretty quick, and we got good coverage (defensively). It just clicked at the end.”
Joliet Catholic committed 14 unforced errors in the second game and 26 for the match.
“It will take time and patience,” Hilltoppers coach Rhyen Staley said. “It’s a work in progress, but the talent’s there. You can’t expect to have that many errors and expect to beat anyone, much less a good team like Lincoln-Way Central.”