Rolling Meadows seniors Brett Frey, Kevin Murphy and Peter Nickle are making their final prep season on the volleyball court a special one indeed.
The trio, along with the rest of their Mustangs teammates, moved into sole possession of first place in the Mid-Suburban East Tuesday with a convincing 25-16, 25-20 road victory over Buffalo Grove.
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"Brett, Kevin and Pete have been starters since their sophomore year," said Meadows coach Tim Piatek, "so we've been looking forward to this season since day one of practice."
Setter Frey had 20 assists, libero Nickle recorded 9 digs, and Murphy led the way on attack with 8 kills as the Mustangs improved to 6-2 in the East, 16-4 overall.
Frey and classmate Tim Ellis each hit a service ace, while Ellis added 4 kills as Meadows enjoyed one of their most complete efforts of the season.
"Winning conference is one of our goals," said Murphy, while Frey added that it feels "fantastic" to be leading the division -- and to have defeated perennial standout BG twice in the same season.
"That hasn't happened since we don't know when," said Frey. who also said that he and his teammates were confident coming into the second matchup of the year with the Bison.
"We knew what was coming," said the senior setter. "We know how they like to run their offense and we've been practicing for it and preparing for it."
"Our serve receive was phenomenal tonight," added Murphy, "and our middle blockers did a great job of moving outside to try to stop (Evan) Bunnetto."
The Bison loss overshadowed a tremendous performance by Bunnetto, a senior hitter and one of the BG captains.
Bunnetto was on fire in the second set, recording 9 of his match-high 11 kills to keep the home team in the match.
"Evan played his butt off," said BG coach Matt Aiello. "He showed a lot of emotion out there. He was the best player on the court tonight."
Meadows led wire to wire to claim the first set, but Bunnetto's inspired play in a back-and-forth second set saw the Bison forge a late 18-18 tie.
Then Murphy came up with a big kill, as did junior right side Tom Srnak after a couple of BG (11-13, 4-4) hitting errors.
The Mustangs took a 24-20 lead and put the match in the win column when Nickle went to the floor for a dig that just sailed over the net, where a lift was called on the Bison.
Senior outside hitter Matt Kuzniar was outstanding for Meadows, BG sophomore Athan Cruz had 4 kills, while Aiello gave a ton of credit to his sopomore defensive specialist, Tullio Ruscitti (6 digs).
"We put Tullio in the lineup as libero in the second set," said Aiello, "and he did a great job."
"We've got to find a way to get all six guys who are out there to play together," added Aiello. "They think they can turn it on and off whenever they need to, but they can't do that."
"The bottom line is, Rolling Meadows played well and we didn't."
Hersey d. Wheeling: The host Huskies pulled out a 25-18, 22-25, 25-22 decision in MSL East play.
And dig this: Hersey junior libero Fotis Christacos broke the program record for digs in a match. He had 33 of them, breaking the mark set by Kevin Cayton in the 2008 season.
Mike Fuerst led Hersey with 10 kills and Bart Migus had 8. Other key Hersey contributors included Matt Torvik (103-of-106 setting, 29 assists) and Kevin Schroeder (13-for-13 serving).
Jon Marquez led Wheeling with 8 kills, and Tim Lee and Zack Nauert had 7 apiece for Wheeling (10-15, 1-7).
Nauert (19 digs), Lee (17) and Nick Stephani (15) led the defensive effort for the Wildcats, while Eric Ruttenberg was 60-for-60 setting with 26 assists.
Fremd d. Schaumburg: Eric Scott had 8 kills and Aaron Kent and Venkat Ganne had 6 each to help Fremd pick up a 25-23, 25-21 road victory in MSL West action.
David Kim led Fremd (11-14, 4-4) with 60-for-60 setting and 21 assists.
The Saxons fell to 13-15 overall and 3-4 in the West.
Hoffman Estates d. Conant: Brandon Kwiatkowski had a team-best 6 kills and Javi Pablo had 4 as the Hawks earned a 22-25, 25-22, 25-12 victory over the visiting Cougars.
Pablo also had a team-high 18 digs and was 10-for-10 serving with 2 aces.
Mark Tomuta led the attack for Conant with 7 kills, and Ajay Patel had 6 digs.
Postponed: Barrington's scheduled game at Palatine was postponed due to an electrical problem, and Prospect's scheduled game at Elk Grove was postponed due to a scheduling conflict.
Both match have been rescheduled for Thursday, May 9.