Boys Volleyball: Waubonsie Valley tops West Aurora in wild openerWest Aurora libero Patrick Ronan digs the ball out as Blackhawk teammates James McGrath (11) and David Vasquez back him up. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 19, 2012 9:32PM
The one thing about starting a season against a rival is that sometimes the game is so good it’s tough to top the rest of the year.
It took three games and 142 points before Waubonsie Valley and West Aurora could settle their match Monday, with the Warriors earning the 25-22, 25-27, 25-23 win as the two teams opened the season against each other for the fifth straight year.
“It was a tough game,” said Warriors outside hitter Mike Storm, who posted 18 kills on the night. “They are very good competition so it was nice to come out with the win. We played our best and had fun playing with each other.”
With many of the players friends after growing up playing against each other, there was plenty of familiarity between the two teams and few secrets. That was evidenced during the match that saw 34 ties and 11 lead changes, with neither team leading by more than four points.
“We knew where they were going with the ball, and our game plan was right,” West coach Tolis Koskinaris said. “They did a better job finishing those hits than we did blocking at the net, and it came down to two points.”
In the first game, the teams were tied 19-all before Waubonsie responded with four straight points, with an ace by Luke Furman making it a 23-19 game. West got as close as 24-22 on a kill by Eric Roggeman, but Tyler House returned the favor with a block kill of his own to close it out.
The next two games followed the same pattern. There were a total of 16 ties in the second game as Waubonsie scored 18 points from kills, but behind seven kills from Roggeman the Blackhawks broke a 25-all tie with the final two points to force the deciding third game.
The Warriors led most of the way until Sean Kent served up an ace that forced a 21-all tie and seemingly helped swing the momentum the Blackhawks’ way, as they scored the next point and found themselves just two points away from closing out the match.
But two kills by Mike Simmons put the Warriors at match point, which Simmons served to close it out.
“No matter when we play them it is always like this,” Waubonsie coach Al Lagger said. “We missed a lot of serves, which is typical of a first match. Coming down the stretch we executed when we needed to, we told them to take a deep breath and get the serve in and they did.”
James McGrath had five blocks for West, while Storm had five blocks and Simmons four for Waubonsie.