Boys Volleyball: Lincoln-Way North stings Andrew
By Logan Malloy For Sun-Times Media March 22, 2013 11:54PM
Marist's Brendan Hopkins gets low on a Lincoln-Way East hit Saturday in the title match of the Marist Redhawk Invitational. | Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 25, 2013 7:14AM
As a slender 6-foot-1 outside hitter, Jake Walenga isn’t the most menacing presence on the court.
Watch the Lincoln-Way North junior crush a few balls, though, and it’s easy to see how Walenga led the Phoenix in kills and aces as a sophomore.
“I’m really undersized, to say the least,” Walenga said. “I need to have better ball control (to be successful). I’m not always up there to wail as hard as I can.”
Walenga showed finesse and power Friday against Andrew in pool play of the Marist Invitational. He notched eight kills and four aces as North breezed to a 25-11, 25-18 victory.
“I play a lot of beach (volleyball) in the summer,” Walenga said. “Playing two-on-two, you have more court space to work with, and you can really move around and get crisp with your ball control. I think that’s what helps put me above other people.”
North (3-0) showed a vast arsenal of weapons, with Brad McFarland and Kenny Christensen adding five kills apiece.
“This is a fun group to coach,” North coach Matt Lawrence said. “They’re all driven and want to get better.”
Sean Murphy led Andrew (1-1) with five kills, which rebounded to top Reavis 25-14, 28-26.
“(North’s) offense is a fast one to start off with,” Andrew coach Courtney Stoub said of the season opener. “We switched gears and seemed to relax a little in the second set and our passing improved.”
North also downed Reavis 25-12, 25-8 to win its pool and advance to the tournament’s Gold Division, where it will meet St. Rita in the quarterfinals. St. Rita defeated St. Charles 25-12, 25-18 and Notre Dame 26-24, 26-24.
Coach Ryan Biros said middle hitter Billy White is playing well for the Mustangs.
“When we need a kill, it’s easy for us to go to him. He’s a hard hitter and gets up pretty well,” Biros said.