Welcome back to the Lake Zurich volleyball lineup, Michael Savio.
The Bears missed you for those two weeks (sprained ankle), but they welcomed back their libero Wednesday night for the first time since his injury.
So, how did guest Stevenson welcome back the junior?
"I got hit in the chest once and the face twice,'' Savio said. "I was just disappointed that I couldn't get the ball up."
Stevenson joined the 20-win club by winning the North Suburban Conference matchup. The twice-beaten Patriots (20-2) breezed 25-12, 25-15.
"Stevenson is a very experienced team,'' Savio said. "And Jonah (May) is a great setter. A lot of them play club together. I told the players on Stevenson, I'd be disappointed if they didn't go to state."'
May, the Princeton University-bound senior, notched 21 assists in the two quickly played sets.
"Tonight, we were attacking from both left and right,'' May said. "We had great balance which happens so often. When we spread the ball around, there is no reason to overload on one kid."
Stevenson coach Tim Crow had very few complaints about his team's play.
"We played well,'' Crow said. "Guys off the bench played well. Jonah has the luxury of running a quicker offense and that dictates who gets the ball."
In the first set it was Brett Lerner (10 kills) and Brad Tiller (7 kills) and Aaron Zalewski (6 kills) doing the damage on offense.
On a Tiller kill it was 12-6 Patriots. The Stevenson advantage grew from there. Lerner notched a pair of kills while Brian Dubinsky (19 digs) was serving and Connor Perlin closed it with a kill as the lead expanded to 24-11.
"They are a really good team,'' said Lake Zurich coach Lesly Ravenscraft. "We were a little over matched, but that's going to happen."
Lake Zurich (7-9) actually grabbed an early lead in set two -- as in 2-1.
Stevenson's lead was just 8-5 before Zalewski took his turn serving. Both Tiller and Zalewski delivered kills during his service and the second romp was on its way.
"We did not play our best match,'' Savio said. "We were overwhelmed. We really wanted to give them the best match possible."
There were a few Lake Zurich kills that deserved attention. Sophomore Matt Carmody buried one in the first set, and middle blocker Brent Sweetwood also had a few strong hitting moments.
Despite the hits to his face and elsewhere, Savio led all defenders with 28 digs. His teammate, David Doherty, added 16 digs.
The two-week layoff wasn't what Savio had in mind for this season.
"It was really hard to watch my team play,'' he said.