Boys Volleyball: Sophomore standouts key Lincoln-Way North win
Updated: May 8, 2012 7:43PM
With several starters missing Tuesday’s match at Lincoln-Way West, Lincoln-Way North sophomores Jake Walenga and Brad McFarland knew the pressure was on.
Already key contributors to a team with 28 wins, the sophomore duo would have to take on much bigger roles.
“Coach (Matt Lawrence) told us we would really have to step up tonight,” McFarland said. “We knew what we had to do, and (setter) Matt Burke knew what was going on. He kept feeding his hungry hitters, and we went and swung.”
Walenga and McFarland were swinging early and often Tuesday, going for 12 and 13 kills respectively in No. 5 North’s 25-16, 26-24 win in the SouthWest Suburban Red.
“They’re way ahead of most sophomores in terms of skill and court mentality,” Lawrence said. “They’ll stay aggressive even in the tight part of games.”
Burke added 20 assists and Zach Blasgen 18 digs for North (29-3, 7-0). Joel McGuire (14 kills, five digs), Dominic Prospero (16 assists) and Danny Murphy (eight digs, five kills) led Lincoln-Way West (23-8, 6-2).
Having won Game 1 in dominant fashion, North came out flat in Game 2. Behind McGuire’s hot hitting, West went up 17-10. As part of a game-closing 16-7 run, McFarland slammed six kills and added a block.
“We were laid back because we’d won (the opener) by a good margin,” McFarland said. “West is a good team though, always has been, and they got on a hot streak. We fought back and started chipping away at their points.”
Lincoln-Way West lost star middle Dave O’Brien for the season with an ankle injury this past weekend while setter Grayson Dewey is working back from a knee injury.
“Dave was having such a standout season for us, and you never wish an injury on anyone, especially a senior,” West coach Rory Harrison said. “It will force others to step up and take bigger roles.”