Boys Volleyball: Zion has found finishing touch

Story Image BARRINGTON Thursday May 24 2012
Zion-Bento's Niko Paaloalo (15)| Michelle LaVigne~Sun-Times Media

Updated: May 28, 2012 7:05PM

When play began in the prep boys volleyball tournament series last week, 196 teams had their sights set on reaching the Elite 8 and playing in the state quarterfinals in Hoffman Estates.

Now, just 16 are still in contention for those eight spots, and the local entry breathing the rarefied air is Zion-Benton.

After toiling against the area’s super-powers all regular season, the Zee-Bees have united at exactly the right time, and have captured the moment by knocking off heavily favored Vernon Hills and Stevenson last week to reach this moment.

Tuesday at 7 p.m. Zion will have to conquer the last of the area giants when it takes on Barrington on the Broncos’ home court in the Round of 16 sectional final.

Win and you’re playing in the state semifinals on Friday. Lose and you go home having earned the first regional-championship trophy in the sport in school history.

Last Friday, after Zion won Game 1 against Stevenson and then let the Patriots off the hook in Game 2, senior leader Josh Hieb spelled out the facts of volleyball life to his teammates.

“I told the team, ‘I have so much confidence (in us),’ ” said Hieb. “I felt like we should have won the second, so I felt like we still had momentum even though we dropped the game. I said, ‘Just keep your heads up, keep moving your feet and we’re going to take this one home.’ ”

And that is the goal on Tuesday.

To take this one home.

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