Naperville North peaking at right timeNaperville North's Matt Jennings (right) and Henry Cheatham team up to block a Downers Grove South player's tip attempt. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 27, 2011 11:45PM
Potential. Naperville North had a lot of it before the season. But injuries, poor play and occasional bad luck plagued the Huskies.
“We’re finally playing to our potential,” Naperville North’s Shane Witmer said.
Witmer had 14 kills and two blocks and the Huskies avenged a crushing loss to Downers Grove South earlier this season Friday with a 25-21, 25-18 victory in a sectional semifinal at IMSA.
Spencer Sauter added 10 kills, Henry Cheatham added five kills and Steve Massoni dealt out 24 assists for Naperville North (27-11), which will meet Wheaton Warrenville South for the fourth time this season for the sectional title Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.
Naperville North will be seeking its third straight upset of a top-10 team Tuesday after taking down Greg Petty and Downers Grove North in the regional final.
“We played pretty good defense against Downers North and we played good defense tonight,” Witmer said. “We wanted to be disciplined with our blocks and we got a lot of balls up.
“We also wanted to put a lot of pressure on them with our serves and keep them from running their middles,” Witmer added. “Their middles killed us last time. Tonight, they were not as effective.”
Downers South (32-6) got nine kills and a block from David Manganiello and five kills from Mike Zinnecker, but middles Sam Kull and Kevin O’Halloran combined for just five kills and four blocks.
“We wanted to run our middles, too,” Naperville North coach Nate Bornancin said. “But with our right sides and outsides playing so well, we kept going to the well.”
Even libero Danny Boryca got into the act, sending a spectacular dig back over the net for a kill that gave North a 5-4 lead in Game 2. But it was a 4-0 run with North leading 17-16 highlighted by a Witmer kill from the back row that broke open Game 2.
“We’re having fun out there for the first time all season,” Witmer said. “None of us want our season to end.”