Boys Volleyball: Lincoln-Way Central eliminates Sandburg
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media May 28, 2014 8:26PM
Updated: May 28, 2014 11:45PM
For Lincoln-Way Central’s Connor Hipelius, the tough-to-swallow regular-season loss to Sandburg was a thing of the past, and it was going to stay there.
The same for the Knights’ late-season struggles, all the negatives tossed aside.
A different, more energized team took the court Wednesday, with Lincoln-Way Central pulling off the upset in a 25-18, 19-25, 25-23 win over host Sandburg for the regional title.
“You’ve got to play for the team and not yourself,” Hipelius said. “I play to pump up the team, get everyone going. You win games that way. The team we have, we’re ready to go, and we can make it all the way to state if we try.”
The regional title was the first for Central (24-13) — which will play top-seeded Lincoln-Way East on Friday night in a Marist Sectional semifinal — since 2010.
Sandburg (28-9) had won 19 straight regional titles before Wednesday.
Hipelius finished with eight kills and five blocks for Knights. Kyle Nilson (8 kills, 3 aces), Scott Mueller (16 digs), Mike Kulinski (27 assists) and Neal Brown (7 kills) also contributed.
It was Hipelius powering the way early, his closing run in the first set — two blocks and a kill — proving to be the difference.
If Hipelius was the starter on this night, Nilson was the closer.
Nilson, an outside hitter, powered five of his eight kills and all three of his aces with the match on the line in the third set. He saved his best for last, a kill at the net finding a hole in Sandburg’s back-row defense.
“That second set, we didn’t expect them to come out as strong as they did,” Nilson said. “We brought it back that third game. We wanted it more. It was a great feeling putting that (last) ball down.”
Sandburg was led by Paul Chmura (14 kills), Ian Zalewski (36 assists), Dan Tynski (8 kills), Neil Naughton (8 kills) and Kyle Van Stedum (6 kills).
“They just had a lot more intensity than us,” Chmura said. “They wanted it more than we did. It was just our energy. We had no energy at all, and that ends up being the main reason we lost.”