Boys Volleyball: Refocused Glenbard East knocks off Naperville North
Updated: April 12, 2012 9:13PM
Glenbard East’s loss to Downers Grove South Saturday at Springfest may have only awakened a sleeping giant.
Six-foot-3 senior outside hitter Matt Ploke had nine kills and two blocks, Tim Shenkin added six kills and nine assists and Matt Finder had 14 digs as No. 2 Glenbard East (13-2, 4-0 in the DuPage Valley Conference) buried Naperville North 25-19, 25-15 Thursday in Lombard.
The Rams (13-2, 4-0 in the DuPage Valley Conference) broke an 8-8 tie in Game 1 with a 12-7 run, and used a 14-4 outburst to pull away from an 8-8 deadlock in Game 2.
“I thought we did everything we wanted to do tonight,” Glenbard East coach Marci Maier said. “We put it all together. There been multiple matches where we’ve blocked really well or we’ve hit really well. But one avenue of our game hasn’t been firing on all cylinders.
“Tonight was the first time where we served well, we blocked well, we dug exceptionally well and we put some balls down,” she added. “We put a complete game out there, which was really nice to see because Naperville North is a good team. It gives our guys a lot of confidence.”
Ploke was the difference offensively in both games. He sandwiched a block and a kill around an East error to give the hosts an 18-15 lead in Game 1, and his five kills in Game 2 helped to erase the 9-8 lead Naperville North briefly enjoyed on a kill by Penn State-bound Spencer Sauter (seven kills).
“I thought Ploke did a nice job,” Maier said. “Some of credit has to be given to Shenkin, because we were running our offense and Shenkin drew the block and gave Matt a one-on-one block multiple times. With the one-on-one block, Ploke is going to put the ball down.”
Ploke had a little extra motivation Thursday beyond trying to put Saturday’s loss behind him. He was also trying to avenge a loss from last year.
“I was just remembering from last year how we played this same team and we lost at their home,” he said. “I got that bitter taste in my mouth. We had to beat them at our home place. Our defense was amazing, our libero (Finder) was digging everything, our setters were setting us in the right spots.
“Saturday showed us we’re not unstoppable, that teams can beat us no matter what their ranking is,” Ploke added. “Downers South is a good team, but that loss just motivates us even more to get better at the little things.”
The little things, particularly passing, stymied Naperville North.
“Passing has been a recurring theme all season,” Sauter said. “We haven’t been able to stay in system and those are the games we struggle. When we played Wheaton Warrenville South, we passed really well and had a 20-19 lead in the first game. Our whole game depends on our passing.”
The Huskies did come up with a highlight reel play midway through Game 2. Kyle Losik took a ball somehow saved off an overhanging basketball rim and dumped it into an opening on the other side of the net for a point while the Glenbard East players were busy celebrating.
“If our passing is on, I feel we’re a really good team and can compete,” Sauter said. “But we get into these funks. If that happens like it did tonight, we struggle. It’s hard to run an offense when the balls are flying everywhere.”
You can’t play them all off the rim.