Boys Volleyball: WW South rallies to thwart Downers North upset bid

Updated: May 25, 2012 8:37PM



They’re human after all.

“Yeah, of course we’re human,” Wheaton Warrenville South setter Kit Bruzek said.

Trailing 25-21, 17-15 to Downers Grove North in a sectional semifinal Friday at WW South, the Tigers were in serious jeopardy of watching their unbeaten season and No. 1 national ranking by ESPN come crashing down in a sea of purple.

But Kills by Thomas Jaeschke, Nick Smith and Tim Zyburt and three consecutive Downers North errors gave WW South new life. The Tigers took advantage, winning Game 2 on a Smith backrow smash, then blowing Game 3 open early en route to a 21-25, 25-21, 25-14 victory.

WW South advanced to play either Benet or Glenbard East at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday in the sectional finals at WW South.

Jaeschke led WW South (38-0) with 14 kills and an ace, Zyburt had nine kills and four blocks, Matt Callaway added seven kills and three blocks and Bruzek had 33 assists.

“We just never gave up,” Bruzek said. “We were kind of in a pickle that first game. That’s unusual for us. But we were able to stay focused, stay fundamentally focused. That was our big problem in the first couple of games. We got back to our roots and that’s what made us prevail.”

Downers North (30-8) never trailed in Game 1 despite three early service errors. Paul Novosyolov and JP Tulacka combined for eight kills in the game and Troy Krafthefer added three kills, including the game winner.

But a kill by Zyburt, which ended a long rally with the Tigers leading 20-18 in Game 2, may have been the backbreaker for the Trojans. After winning Game 2, the Tigers took control of Game 3 early building a 17-7 lead on a Callaway slide.

“We really started to lose it later at the end of the second game,” Downers North coach Mark Wasik said. “We started asking for lift calls, started wishing balls out of bounds. It’s almost like we got too close to taste the success. We didn’t go out and just earn it.

“We didn’t just continue to stay on that course mentally to execute and finish,” he added. “That’s where we kind of lost that tide a little bit. Then we had to play catch-up in Game 3. Wheaton South’s too good to have that mentality.”

Tulacka led Downers North with 10 kills, two blocks and an ace, and Novosyolov (ace) and Krafthefer each had seven kills. Zack Parik added 27 assists and three kills.

“A little bit of inexperience might have come out in this big of a situation, and they got the best of us,” Wasik said.

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