Boys Volleyball: Lincoln-Way East fends off Brother Rice
By Logan Malloy For Sun-Times Media April 7, 2014 8:38PM
Updated: May 9, 2014 6:24AM
Brother Rice looked primed to hand Lincoln-Way East its first loss of the season Monday night.
Enter Nate Van Dellen.
Van Dellen delivered in the clutch and established a school record with 24 kills as East outlasted the host Crusaders 25-17, 23-25, 25-21 in an action-packed match of state title contenders.
“I talked to Austin (Royer) at the timeout and just told him to feed me,” Van Dellen said. “Sometimes as a hitter you’re just feeling it, and that’s kind of what happened.”
With the third set tied at 19, Van Dellen went off for three straight kills. He closed out the match five points later with kill No. 24.
“He gutted it out,” East coach Kris Fiore said. “He was aggressive. That was something we preached during the timeouts. Don’t turn into that team during crunch time that’s just tipping and rolling it over the net. You’re never going to win like that.”
Royer had 39 assists for the Griffins (13-0) and libero Josh Phalen tied the school record with 24 digs.
Kevin Myren led Brother Rice (10-2) with 11 kills and contributed some strong defense at the net. Jim Dwyer notched 20 assists, Mitch Weiler had eight kills and eight digs, and David Kelly seven kills and seven digs.
East’s defense looked impregnable in Set 1, but Brother Rice got its block going in the second set to stifle the Griffins. The Crusaders led by as many as eight points in Set 2 before a block and kill by Carson Slager — along with a Rice attack error — cut Rice’s lead 24-23. Myren cut the rally short by putting the set away with a block.
“We’ve got the height and athleticism (to block), it’s just a matter of executing,” Crusaders coach Paul Ickes said.
The third set featured nine ties before Van Dellan’s three straight kills gave East a 22-19 cushion. Royer broke two ties with dumps and East’s Aaron Redweik broke another with a kill in the middle.
“They’re smart,” Myren said. “They tip a lot in good spots. We have to stay in our base longer and read their tips better.”