Like any coach, Kris Hasty wants to bring out the full potential of the West Chicago boys volleyball team and give the Wildcats the tools to do that were evident Tuesday afternoon in a 25-15, 25-12 victory over host Fenton.
"We've only had one tournament," said Hasty, whose team improved to 4-2 after finishing third at the Hoffman Estates Hawk Invite last weekend to open the schedule. "Things have been going fairly well for so early in the season. We put in a new offense today and hadn't worked on it much in practice. It allows us more opportunities to use our hitters."
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The Wildcats dispatched the 2-5 Bison by getting their entire lineup involved. The kills were evenly disputed with Travis Kuhlmann leading with 5, Gus MacPherson and Alan Thiede each with 4 and Trevor Slonek with 3.
"We did a nice job of distributing the ball," Hasty said.
Ten of the first 11 possessions in Game 1 resulted in just one point for either West Chicago or Fenton as both teams responded well to their opponent's attack.
Kuhlmann connected on a kill to put the Wildcats up 8-7 and get the ball back. Kuhlmann then proceeded to serve up four straight points, which included his ace, kills by Joe Pinkevich and MacPherson which put their team up 12-7.
Later on, Fenton got to within 16-13 on a West Chicago hitting error, but that's as close as the Bison would get. Throughout the afternoon Fenton could not come up with a response when the Wildcats went on a roll.
One of those rolls was a 6-0 run, with Slonek serving, that put the game on ice, 23-14. Kills from MacPherson and Kuhlmann helped in the effort.
Fenton's contribution to the highlight tape came early in Game 2. With Jakub Lewandowski serving, Usama Maan blocked a shot for a point and Lewandowski hit two aces to put their team up 4-3.
West Chicago answered with a 6-0 run to go up 10-4. Joe Laiter got an an ace, Slonek and Thiede went for the double block in addition to each getting a kill of their own. The Bison did cut it to 12-9 before Danny Amaro took over serving and the Wildcats went up 20-10 to put the finishing touches on the match. Amaro got an ace, MacPherson a block and Kuhlmann a kill during the scoring drive.
West Chicago returns to action Tuesday with its DuPage Valley Conference and home opener against Glenbard North.
"We should be in the hunt. Hopefully, we will be a contender in the DVC," Hasty said.
Fenton, which returns to action Monday at Addison Trail, was led by Jose Diaz's 3 kills and Maan's 5 blocks. Four of the Bison's six starters are juniors.
"Our hitting was pretty decent. We had amazing hitting on Saturday (at the Plainfield North Invitational)," said Bison coach Heather Snyder. "I was disappointed in our passing. We did not get the opportunities on offense.
"Our big goal this season is to bring everything together. When our hitting is good, we want our blocking and passing to be good as well," she said.