Boys Volleyball: WW South storms into state final

Updated: June 2, 2012 6:05PM



When you’re trying to complete an unbeaten season and win a mythical national championship, there’s time for fun and there’s time for business.

Saturday in the semifinals of the IHSA boys state volleyball tournament, it was all about business.

“We here for business, not to have fun,” Wheaton Warrenville South’s Thomas Jaeschke said. “We’re here to play volleyball. We have fun in the process, and that’s a good thing. But business is first.”

Jaeschke had 10 kills and five aces, Nick Smith added eight kills and nine digs and Kit Bruzek had 23 assists as WW South advanced to the state championship game with a 25-20, 25-18 victory over Barrington Saturday at Hoffman Estates.

Barrington coach Rob Ridenour, whose team lost to WW South in its third match of the season at the Bison Battle, liked his team’s chance against the Tigers. But a run in each game with Jaeschke at the service line was the difference.

“Overall, I thought we played well tonight,” he said. “I don’t think we played great. Some things here and there could have been better, but to beat a team like WW South you have to play great. Essentially, it was a 50-50 match except for Jaeschke’s service rotations. He hurt us in both.”

WW South (41-0) led 15-13 in Game 1 when a kill and an ace by Jaeschke sparked a 3-0 run that provided the final five-point margin. In Game 2, the Tigers‘ lead was 14-10 following a Barrington service error when Jaeschke sandwiched two aces around two Bronco hitting errors.

“We actually felt we could win,” Ridenour said. “We’re one of the few teams that are big enough to match up with them. We thought coming in that was an advantage for us. We felt that if we could keep it tight, absolutely we thought we would win.”

But WW South was able to match Barrington’s defense, anchored by libero Austin Czarnecki (10 digs), if not exceed it, said Tiger coach Bill Schreier.

“We’ve been trying to make sure that we challenge ourselves to outwork the other team on defense,” Schreier said. “Barrington’s a good defensive team. I think Austin did a good job back there. Defense kept them in the game. But I think we matched them, if not beat them, as far as defense went.

“I think we can play defense as well as anyone else,” he added. “There’s never been a question about our kids’ offensive capabilities. But there’s always the thought that once you get past the big block that you can get a kill. But we’re bringing both sides of the ball now.”

That’s not to say that the big block didn’t help WW South, which was credited for eight blocks to Barrington’s four.

“We blocked pretty well,” Smith said. “It’s pretty easy to play defense around it. I was reading into them pretty well. I knew the shots they were going to be making and kind of zoned in on them.”

WW South still had trouble zoning in on Barrington’s 6-8 middle hitter Tommy Leonard, who led the Broncos with eight kills and hit a match-high .438. But Barrington was just not able to get the ball to their big gun as often as Ridenour wanted.

“We really wanted to get the ball to both our middles coming in, but because were in a scramble situation so often, that was tough,” Ridenour said. “But WW South is a great team. They put you in those situations.”

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