New Trier ousts rival Loyola
Updated: May 27, 2011 10:42AM
New Trier took one step Wednesday in its hopes of getting to the state tournament for the first time since 2007 when the Trevians finished second.
Behind big serves and big blocks, the top-seeded and third-ranked Trevians topped eighth-seeded Loyola 25-20, 25-15 for the regional championship.
“Down the stretch, we made the plays when it counted,” senior setter Eric Kerr said. “They couldn’t get many swings on us.”
Loyola coach Lionel Ebeling agreed.
“We ran into a great team,” he said. “They’re big and have solid blocking. There’s a reason they are ranked so high.”
Andrew Gates finished with a team-best eight kills. Bennett Wakenight added four kills and four blocks, while Jesse Solomon contributed five kills and three blocks. Kerr passed out 34 assists to go with three kills, while Alex Cook served up four aces.
New Trier (31-6) moves on to play Friday at the Niles North Sectional.
“Before the game we talked about the value of each point and each game,” Kerr said. “We know our season could end at any point.”
For the Ramblers (20-17), they played some of their best volleyball in May, even going on a 10-match winning streak that included a tournament title at Evanston. They then played in the championship match at Maine South’s tournament before heading into the playoffs.
“We started the season off slow, and that’s why we ended up with this seed,” Ebeling said. “But we had a heck of a run over the last two weeks, and we were peaking at the right time.”
Loyola loses four seniors, including hitter Paul Juska, but the Ramblers return key contributors in junior Chris Bulava and sophomore Sean Barry. Ebeling even started freshman David Wieczorek in the regional final.
“The future looks nice, but our seniors did a great job this season,” Ebeling said.