Boys volleyball: West Aurora rallies to finish third at own tourney

Braeden Zant was determined West Aurora would earn a third-place trophy at Saturday's Blackhawk Invite hosted by West Aurora at Gordon Kerkman Gymnasium.

During the final 7 points the Blackhawks scored in the decisive third game against Oswego East, Zant delivered 3 kills and served 2 aces.

Zant's effort gave the Blackhawks a 27-25 win in Game 3. West Aurora outlasted the Wolves 25-16, 25-27, 27-25 in the third-place match.

The final point of the match came on an ace by Cameron Jarrell.

Zant produced 11 kills, 3 blocks and 5 aces for the Blackhawks who went 3-1 in the tournament and are now 4-2 for the season.

"We were not going to lose that game and the match," said Zant. “I took it personally. We would have loved to play for the championship. But, it was a good day for us. We were introduced to some of the best of the teams around.We played our hearts out and were ready to win. Our goal is to make it to the state tournament."

West Aurora coach Grant Marlowe praised Zant.

"He (Zant) is consistent and he comes to practice and games ready to play," said Marlowe. "There are no highs and lows with him."

The Blackhawks got off to a fast start in Game 1. Spearheaded by 2 kills each by Nick Fedor and Evan Camp, West Aurora jumped out to a 10-4 advantage.

The Blackhawks’ biggest lead was 20-9. A kill by Fedor gave the hosts a 1-0 lead in the match.

The Wolves bounced back in Game 2 and took an early 9-4 lead on a kill by Harrison Moran.

West Aurora bounced back and tied the game at 12 on an ace by Jarrell. There were 5 lead changes and ties before Oswego East scored the final 2 points on a pair of kills by Moran.

For the match Moran paced the Wolves with 16 kills, 4 blocks and 3 aces.

Fedor backed Zant with 7 kills and 2 aces while Jarrell contributed 5 kills and 2 aces.

"It was a good bounce back match for us," said Marlowe. "It was a good tournament for us. We played some good competition.“

In the semifinals, the Blackhawks suffered a gut-wrenching loss to Bolingbrook, 21-25, 25-20, 29-27.

In Game 3, West Aurora staved off game point 5 times before succumbing to the Raiders.

"We just couldn't get over the hump," said Marlowe. "We couldn't get the block adjustments on the last points."

The hosts started fast in Game 1 jumping off to a 14-10 lead on a kill by Fedor.

After 4 lead changes, the Blackhawks broke a 21-21 deadlock by scoring the final 4 points capped by a kill by Camp.

In Game 2, the game was tied at 13 before the Raiders went on a 7-0 run to take control with a 20-13 lead. The Raiders evened the match at 1-1 on a kill by Jacqson Lesure.

Fedor led the Hawks with 8 kills, 3 blocks and 2 aces. Lesure led the winners with 6 kills.

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