Boys Volleyball: Downers North recovers to put away Metea Valley

Updated: May 22, 2012 9:37PM



It’s never easy the second time around.

Downers Grove North, the No. 5 seed at the Wheaton Warrenville South sectional, coasted to a big win in Game 1 of its regional semifinal with Metea Valley Tuesday at Hinsdale Central.

Game 2? That was a different story.

However, the Trojans got five kills from 6-7 senior middle Troy Krafthefer, including a crushing putaway of an overpass at 26-25, and held on after squandering two match points to advance to Wednesday’s regional final with a 25-12, 27-25 win over the Mustangs.

Downers Grove North (28-7) will meet fourth-seeded Waubonsie Valley (26-8) Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.

JP Tulacka led Downers North with eight kills, Zack Parik had 24 assists and Paul Novosyolov added five kills. But it was Krafthefer’s strong play in Game 2 that prevented Metea Valley from extending the match to a third game.

“Between games, coach (Mark Wasik) talked about keeping up the momentum,” Krafthefer said. “He said just don’t get down emotionally because in order to win a big game like this you have to get pumped up and get together as a team.

“We came out and played our best,” he added. “We’re just getting ready for tomorrow at this point.”

Downers North broke out to a short-lived 8-5 lead in Game 2. Metea Valley answered with a methodical 15-10 run to take a 20-18 lead. But a Tulacka kill and a Metea error tied the game at 20, and Chris George’s ace gave Downers North a 21-20 lead.

The Trojans eased to a 24-22 lead, but could not put the match away thanks to a service error and a kill attempt that went long. But with the game tied at 25, Krafthefer came up with back-to-back kills to send the winners into the regional title game.

“I don’t think we let down as much as we started passing a little more poorly and they were able to do some things offensively to put some pressure on us,” Wasik said. “They’re a nice team that has really progressed and improved throughout the year.

“I was just proud of the way we came out dialed in and played aggressive, consistent volleyball from point one,” he added.

Martin Krasuski led Metea Valley (24-11) with four kills and four digs, and Nick Wieland and Peter Hebda each added three kills. Chad Martin finished with 13 assists and Cody Jones added seven digs.

“We battled, just as we did all season,” Metea Valley coach John Aister said. “It was a tough first game. They served well and kept us out of system. We couldn’t get anything going. But we did a better job serve-receiving in Game 2 and also did a better job serving.

“It’s a tough one to lose,” he added. “These guys have a lot of heart. It’s a good group of guys.”

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