Balanced attack carries Andrew, Sandburg advances
Updated: May 24, 2011 7:24PM
His team riding a mini three-game winning streak to close the regular season, Andrew coach Troy Hari was starting to see everything click into place.
In the Thunderbolts’ playoff opener Tuesday against Oak Forest, there was no huge run early, no game-changing block, just an across the board dominating win. Taking control from the outset, Andrew cruised to a 25-13, 25-14 victory in an Oak Forest Regional semifinal.
“This is the time when we need to peak,” Hari said. “Put everything together, all the training and practice. I have a senior-heavy team, and they want to keep playing. The seniors really stepped up.”
Andrew will play Sandburg at 4:30 p.m. today for the regional title.
James Boyce dished out 24 assists for Andrew (20-14-1). Also chipping in were Bobby Renaud (7 kills), Jake Bednarczyk (4 aces, 3 kills), Tyler Cosme (4 kills, 7 blocks) and Paul Bilanzic (7 kills).
“This is one of our best games, definitely blocking-wise,” Boyce said. “We were able to close out our blocks and stop them from getting their hits.”
Winning the first game in dominant fashion, the Thunderbolts started to pull away early. It wasn’t just the attacks or the blocking, the defense or the digs. It was everything falling into place.
The points came fast and furious in the second as Andrew found itself trailing 4-2 after a Cody Owens ace for Oak Forest.
Four straight errors for the Bengals turned the tide. Andrew had the momentum back and rattled off a 13-1 run that featured three Cosme blocks.
“All through the season we’ve had some big runs,” Boyce said. “That one play, it gets our confidence up, and we’ll start building off that. We go on and on with our momentum.”
Oak Forest finally got into a groove offensively late, but the deficit proved far too large.
Dylan Maziur and Alex Hallahan had five kills apiece for the Bengals (18-11). Owens (13 assists) and Tim Loeding (3 kills, 3 blocks) also contributed.
“We started off just not passing very well, and things spiraled from there,” Oak Forest coach Amanda Brown said. “We don’t have enough weapons to be successful when we’re out of system. When (our hitters) are out of position, we’re going to struggle.”
As for Andrew’s meeting the sectional’s top ranked team in Sandburg, Boyce knows they may have to play at an even higher level. Sandburg beat Andrew in a SouthWest Suburban crossover in two games in April.
“We have to play better, too,” Boyce said. “Last time we played them we made a lot of mistakes that hurt us, and we only lost by a couple of points.”
Sandburg d. Homewood-Flossmoor 25-16, 25-11: Andrew Muys, Bill Siroky and Kevin Groeper had seven kills apiece for Sandburg (33-3), to go with Scott Fifer’s 26 assists. Homewood-Flossmoor finished at 7-28.