Neuqua Valley has a boring boys volleyball team.
Delightfully, amazingly, successfully boring.
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The Wildcats again made boring work for them, winning Friday's Proviso West sectional semifinal over rival Waubonsie Valley 25-20, 25-17.
"Us as a team, we play really, really well together," Neuqua Valley coach Erich Mendoza said. "We play very steady, even-keel volleyball. Very rarely during the season have we gone on streaks where we've given up a lot of points. ...
"Tonight's match was indicative of how we've been playing throughout the year. It's not flashy and it's not exciting. It's exciting for us. They just play very sound, fundamental volleyball."
Neuqua Valley led throughout both games, taking advantage of an early 6-point run to get out in front in Game 1. Waubonsie Valley (14-21) valiantly battled back but never could take the lead.
Callahan Rafferty had 10 kills, Griffin Shields added 5 kills and 5 blocks, and James Marton had 3 kills and 3 blocks for Neuqua Valley.
"They're a quality team, that's why they're whatever their record is (32-5)," Waubonsie Valley coach Al Lagger said. "That's why I'm in now way disappointed. ... To get where we are, to win the regional, we beat the defending state champions (Wheaton Warrenville South) and the No. 2-ranked team (St. Francis). So we've got nothing to be ashamed of."
Michael Simmons led the Warriors with 8 kills and 2 aces. Tyler House added 3 blocks, and Jon Pyne had 5 kills.
Simmons had been a difference-maker in the regional after returning from an injury that forced him to miss much of the regular season. Neuqua Valley was ready for him, though.
"We knew that Simmons was going to come back, and we expected them to set him a lot, which is what they did," Neuqua Valley coach Erich Mendoza said. "That's all we talked about in executing the game plan was making sure we're camping out on him and making sure that we're serving them tough so we could keep them out of system. Really, the runs that they had was when Simmons was jump serving."
"We just couldn't seem to get into a rhythm," Lagger added. "They were doing a really good job of getting us out of system. We couldn't get back into system."