Boys Volleyball: Brother Rice downs Lincoln-Way East in three setsBrother Rice we won over Lincoln-Way East at the Boys Volleyball Sectional Championship held at East and Rice won 2-1 on Tuesday, May 29, 2012. | Larry Kane~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 29, 2012 9:21PM
All Brother Rice’s Ryan Paull needed was a little motivation.
Starting off the season in a limited role, Paull put the practice time in and regained a starting position.
A key factor in Rice’s midseason resurgence, the 6-foot-7 junior continued his hot play Tuesday as Brother Rice upset host Lincoln-Way East 25-18, 21-25, 25-17 in the sectional final to advance to the state quarterfinals. Brother Rice will play Glenbrook North Friday at 1 p.m. at Hoffman Estates.
“I think he realized the hard work that it takes, and it’s more than just talent and height,” Rice coach Br. Paul Ickes said. “When a senior that’s shorter than him was playing, I think that lit a fire under him.”
Helping clinch the program’s first state berth since 2008, Paull had nine kills and five blocks for Brother Rice (28-12) with Mike Carroll (10 digs), Mitch Weiler (16 kills) and Dan Dwyer (33 assists) contributing.
“It took me awhile to get into the flow (this season),” Paull said. “I played a lot in club because I was tall, and I realized I had to pick it up.”
Austin Royer had 30 assists for Lincoln-Way East (35-4) to go with Nate Royer’s 12 digs and 11 kills and Kevin McClafferty’s eight kills and three digs.
Undone by midgame struggles in Game 2, Brother Rice picked it up in the third thanks to its two star underclassmen, Paull and Weiler.
Weiler had seven kills with Paull adding three kills and all five of his blocks as the Crusaders blew open a 12-11 game. Dominating the net, Rice closed on a 13-6 run.
The two-seed in the sectional, Lincoln-Way East was seeking its first state trip since 2007 but struggled to string points together Tuesday.
“It was just execution the whole game,” East coach Kris Fiore said. “Rice dug us, blocked us and basically outplayed us in every aspect. Every time we’d get a little momentum, we’d make a silly error.”