Fortunately for the Lake Park boys volleyball team, left-handed senior Shawn Fritsche is heavily taped only on his right hand and ankle.
"One practice I just got under a ball and (my hand) snapped back, but it's healing now. It's about 90 percent," Fritsche said. "My ankle has just been a little tough. I'd rather just have something on it to protect it instead of rolling it again and possibly be out."
Nothing was going to stop Fritsche for Tuesday's key DuPage Valley Conference match at Glenbard East. He came through with 10 kills and 4 points during a key 5-point run that changed the momentum during the Lancers' 25-20, 25-17 victory in Lombard.
Lake Park (14-2, 6-0) has won seven straight and remains the only undefeated team in DVC play. The Lancers and Rams (12-5, 4-2) play this weekend at the Downers Grove South Invite.
Dominick Terry, Sean Moore and Jeff Yost added to the Lancers' balanced attack for setter Quin Krisik. Libero Anthony Amore had 2 aces and 12 digs and picked up numerous deflected attacks.
Nick Symonds Erik Fiebrandt, Sterling Glover and Ben Symonds paced the Rams.
Glenbard East led throughout the first set until a 5-0 run fueled by Fritsche put Lake Park ahead to stay at 18-16. After surrendering the first point of the second set, the Lancers never trailed again.
"We knew it was going to be a test coming in here. They were a team that was at the top of the DVC," Lake Park coach Tim Murphy said. "I'm glad that (my players) believed me and bought in and we came focused and ready."
Fritsche had special motivation because he previously played club ball with several Rams on the 16-1 Hitmen. Last season Fritsche was part of the new Joust club team of Lake Park players and emerged as one of the "go-to guys on the team," Murphy said.
"I know a lot of guys from the other team," Fritsche said. "It's just fun to compete and you always want to be a top guy. You've got to beat who you were playing with. They're a tough group. It was just fun, a fun game."
With Glenbard East leading the first set 16-13, Fritsche and Moore had a block for a point to get the serve to Amore, who followed with an ace floater on the baseline. Fritsche then had a block assist with Matt Lovelace, a kill off a serve-receive error and another block assist with Lovelace.
"Blocks are huge for us. If you can keep the ball on their side all of the time, then they're going to make mistakes, and if we just play some defense, we'll win each game," Fritsche said.
The Lancers surged to a 16-8 lead in the second set behind 10 kills with just one attack error. The Rams closed to 16-11 with help from Fiebrandt's blistering kill after a one-hand diving dig by Brad Cardott but never got closer.
"We were kind of cruising along (early). It was kind of like a boxing match. They punched and we punched and at some point, there were a couple of fluke plays," Glenbard East coach Marci Maier said.
"There were a couple of plays we didn't get we needed to continue to play sideout ball and then in the second game we did not play sideout ball at all. Lake Park played really well and good teams sometimes make you look bad. If anything, it gives us some things we need to work on and we'll do better next time."
This was only Lake Park's second DVC victory in two sets. Unlike most pregames, the Lancers remained as a group in the hallway and discussed their game plan.
Murphy is hopeful that Fritsche can continue his match mindset along as well.
"He was ready to go tonight. I know that he was anxious to play these guys and really wanted to compete," Murphy said. "We've also sped up our offense a lot so the set that goes back to him is a lot quicker. He's seeing less blockers and has more lanes to hit. He also has good vision. He can see a little gap in the block and hit it right in that spot or see that the line or the cross is open."