Boys Volleyball: Lincoln-Way North tops Waubonsie Valley in Marist finalLincoln-Way East Setter Austin Royer warms up before the start of the 3rd Place match against Richards at the Marist Volleyball Invitational, Saturday, March 24th, 2012 in Chicago, IL. l Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 24, 2012 5:38PM
As far as talent goes, Lincoln-Way North is as loaded as any team in the area.
For junior Haakon Skrodal and his teammates, it’s more than just talent. They simply enjoy playing together.
The Phoenix capped an impressive run Saturday at the Marist Invitational, winning the Gold Flight with a 25-17, 25-19 victory over Waubonsie Valley for the championship.
“We have fun when we’re playing and we just work well together,” Skrodal said. “It helps out on the court. It’s the start of a really good season, hopefully better than the last two years.”
Balance was the key for Lincoln-Way North (6-0), with Ryan McFarland dishing out 25 assists and Skrodal (six kills), Jake Walenga (six), Brad McFarland (six) and Joseph Pognant (five) leading the offensive charge.
The victory avenged a two-game defeat to host Marist in last season’s championship match.
The Phoenix defeated Lincoln-Way East and Providence to get to Saturday’s championship match.
“One of our biggest keys this year is putting the team before self,” Lincoln-Way North coach Matt Lawrence said. “We talk about it a lot, but it’s a fun group to coach.”
Waubonsie Valley opened the first game with a kill from Mike Storm, but North answered with seven straight points and the route was on. A Ryan McFarland kill gave North its biggest lead of the game at 20-10.
The dominance continued into Game 2 with Skrodal supplying two early kills. Skrodal teamed with Brad McFarland while Pognant added a block of his own as part of an 11-5 game-opening run. The Phoenix finished with eight total blocks to dominate the net in the two-set winner.
After some struggles at the net in the semifinals against Lincoln-Way East, the blocking provided a huge turnaround.
“East played well at the net and blocked the heck out of us,” Lawrence said. “We told the guys we needed to play a better net game and they really did that.”
Mike Simmons (five kills) and Jon Pyne (three kills) led Waubonsie Valley (6-1).