Boys volleyball: Prospect pushes, but Hersey prevails in tight MSL battle

It wasn't easy, and there was a lot of drama down to the final point.

But when all was said and done, visiting Hersey was able to capture an exciting 25-16, 28-26 Mid-Suburban League East Division victory over Prospect in boys volleyball action on Tuesday night.

After rolling to an easy 9-point victory in the first set, the Huskies (11-3, 5-0) trailed 23-20 late in the second set after an ace by Prospect's Ryan Cook.

The Knights (9-4, 3-2) could not maintain that lead as an ace by Hersey's Justin Arrowood deadlocked the score at 23-23. The match was a dogfight the rest of the way as the Huskies staved off two set points before Prospect survived a set point to tie the score at 26-26.

But Hersey refused to be denied after that point. The Huskies got a spike from Gregory Kubon before a game-winning hit by Arrowood sealed the narrow 28-26 victory to end the match in two sets.

"Everybody did a really nice job, and we kept them off of system in the second set by serving aggressively," said Hersey coach Laura Gerber, whose team held a 13-7 lead in the second set before Prospect rallied.

"They have a good setter/outside hitter combination and they had good blocks against us. We were able to come back, we played a little good defense toward the end, and we were able to pick up some balls and then get it out to our hitter."

The Knights held leads of 24-23 and 25-24, but they were unable to force a third and deciding set.

"The difference is they didn't make as many errors as we did. I think that's what it came down to and in the plus-minus column they ended up on the higher end for sure," said Prospect coach Mike Riedy. "I thought Luke Cradduck played pretty well. He improved his blocking game quite a bit tonight, and he served very aggressively."

Hersey setter Naveen Samuel was a steady influence for the Huskies throughout the match while keeping the Prospect defense off balance with his dink shots. Prospect's Michael Ruffolo and Cook were aggressive on the attack as was Hersey's Oscar Boduch with 2 kills late in the second set.

"Especially in the second set when we faced adversity it was nice that we all came together and we were able to make changes and figure it out," said Samuel. "We just want to get as far as we can. Last year we lost in sectionals so we would like to get even farther than that. The season is long so we're still trying to get better."

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