Boys Volleyball: Lincoln-Way East overpowers Neuqua Valley
By Phil Brozynski For Sun-Times Media April 30, 2014 9:10PM
A little practice would help Lincoln-Way East a lot.
“We haven’t been able to get a lot of practice time in this week,” East coach Kris Fiore said. “We play eight times this week. We’re hurt trying to get in an hour of practice before our tournament this weekend.”
Not that there was that much wrong with the Griffins on Wednesday at Neuqua Valley. Behind Austin Royer’s 23 assists and seven kills, two aces by Ryan Vorderer and Nate Van Dellen’s six kills and two aces, the Griffins won handily, 25-17, 25-18.
But Fiore was not happy with the number of hitting errors the Griffins (23-1) committed.
“We have been working on defense and blocking in practice because our offense is intact from last year,” Fiore said. “We had to work on stopping opponents and their offense. That’s been our focus in practice, and I thought we did pretty well with that (Wednesday).
“But we just weren’t putting the balls in play on offense, which is what I was getting so angry about. We probably had at least a dozen hitting errors. We can’t continue to play like that in the future and get to where we want to be. We have to clean that up.”
Royer chalked it up to his teammates’ aggressiveness.
“We’re trying to be aggressive with every ball,” he said. “No one likes to tip the ball. We have really aggressive hitters. We haven’t practiced in a while. We’ve just been playing games. That’s something we’ll have to work on in practice.”
Neuqua Valley trimmed a 14-7 deficit in Set 1 to 16-13 on a kill by Connor Hounsell before the Griffins pulled away late, and was within 17-15 late in Set 2 before an ace by Vorderer and a kill by Van Dellen closed out the match.
Aaron Lauth led Neuqua Valley (7-11) with 10 assists, Hounsell added five kills, Austin Neace had four kills and an ace and 6-foot-7 middle Brian McKissick added two blocks and a kill.
“Just from our history of playing all the Lincoln-Ways we knew what to expect,” Neuqua Valley coach Erich Mendoza said. “There’s never been a year where they’ve been down. They’re always solid, especially with their ball control. That’s the biggest thing. They make hardly any mistakes.
“We got cleaned out by graduation last year and we have a young team, so we want to use the regular season to grow so that we can get better by the time regionals come around and make a run at regionals and probably surprise some people.”