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updated: 4/26/2014 4:36 PM

Wild ride for Prospect at Palatine

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By Bill Esbrook
Daily Herald Correspondent

Prospect had an up and down day at Saturday's Palatine boys volleyball invitational.

"It was really a rollercoaster ride of emotions for us," said Knights junior setter Kyle Gerber. "We've had a strong tourney but we've got to come out and play better in the first set."

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After a successful run in pool play, Gerber almost led his teammates into the title match.

Despite dropping game one in the semis to Lake Zurich, the Knights battled back to take game two and force a deciding set, only to fall in the third game 25-20.

"We had to play over their block," said Gerber of the Bears. "For the most part we were able to get over it, but in the end we couldn't close out our own block."

Gerber contributed 69 assists on the day, while Grant Andler led Prospect with 39 kills and 10 aces, while teammate Max Gancarz enjoyed a 2.40 passing percentage.

The Knights scored victories over Stevenson and Fremd in pool play, then wound up dropping the third place match to Joliet Catholic on a day where Waubonsie Valley steamrolled to the tournament championship.

Host Palatine was in the consolation bracket after going 1-2 in pool play (with a win against Libertyville), where the Pirates found themselves in a familiar position.

Palatine faced Mid-Suburban West rival Fremd in the semifinals, playing the Vikings for the fourth time already this season.

"This time," said Pirates senior Jordan Pitts, "we were able to play much better than the last time."

Pitts was referring to Palatine's MSL match against Fremd, where the Pirates gave up a 9-point lead in game three and lost.

"We battled last time," said Pitts, "but we knew we'd have to come out with a lot more energy today. Fremd is a good team, they know our chemistry but then again we know their chemistry."

Saturday, Palatine scored the first 9 points of game one, opening up the 9-0 lead when senior Kyle Obernesser served up an ace.

The Pirates doubled up the Vikings 14-7 on a tip kill from Ryan Campbell, and cruised the rest of the way to win set one 25-17.

The hosts made sure they didn't lose another lead in set two, opening up an early 8-2 advantage to close out the match, winning set two 25-13 for their third win over Fremd this year.

"We had fun out here today," said Obernesser, who will attend Purdue University in the fall. "Going up against Fremd is always competitive, and there were some new teams here this year so the competition was intense."

For his part, Pitts said the Pirates try to use the invitational as a learning experience.

"We're here to build focus toward the playoffs," said Pitts. "It's all about momentum, teamwork, and trusting each other."

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