Brennan Wiest knew the Naperville North boys volleyball team needed a spark, and he took it upon himself to light that fire as a vocal leader and with his play on the court.
On Thursday the senior outside hitter had 9 kills and 9 digs to help propel the Huskies to a 26-24, 25-21 win over visiting Glenbard East, which was without its two top players, Joey Farrell and Zach Greene, after Greene was injured on the first play of the match.
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The Huskies, now 3-1 in the DuPage Valley Conference, evened their overall record at 7-7 after going through a slow start to the season for the second straight year.
"Brennan was a rock out there," said Naperville North coach Nate Bornancin. "You could see it in his face and his teammates could see it in his face that he was going to do anything to win that match. He was up there in kills and in digs and he served tough and kept them out of system."
"Ever since the West Chicago game on Tuesday, I've tried to step up and be as loud as possible," Wiest said. "But everyone worked hard. Our communication is much better and so is our passing. And everyone is just swinging and playing their part. I think we're turning it around."
The first set was a seesaw affair with the Rams holding the lead for the first 7 points.
The Huskies took command in points 8 to 13 and then fell behind again before regaining the advantage at 20-19.
Glenbard East (10-5, 2-2) managed to tie it up at 24-24 before kills by Wiest and Jake Hafen gave the Huskies the win.
The two teams stayed within two points of each other through most of the second set, and the Rams led 18-16.
The Huskies took the lead for good with a 5-point run that included an ace by Nikolai Jackowski and a pair of kills by Wiest.
Dan Koch led the Huskies with 11 kills and Jackowski came up with 11 digs. Gert Lisha had 5 kills and 4 blocks, and Kevin Romy registered 5 kills and 7 digs.
"Glenbard East was playing without its two best players," Bornancin said, "but our guys didn't take their foot off the gas. We were down in the second game and battled through that to pull out the victory and that was nice."
While acknowledging that her team was at a disadvantage without Farrell and Greene, Glenbard East coach Marci Maier was not happy with the way her team played.
"We didn't serve well and our serve-receive broke down a little," she said. "Had we done those things well we would have given ourselves an opportunity to win. Naperville North did a nice job of being opportunistic. We did the best we could being down a couple of guys, but it wasn't good enough."
Seth Quam had 7 kills and 3 blocks for the Rams and Sterling Glover had 9 digs and 6 kills. Willi Brewer was the dig leader with 10.