Boys volleyball: New Trier takes advance of service issues at Stevenson

 
By Bill Pemstein
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 4/4/2016 9:20 PM
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  • Stevenson's Alexander Pieprzycki, middle, spikes one at New Trier's Peter Drozdzewicz (12) and Billy Fauntleroy during boys volleyball action Monday at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire.

      Stevenson's Alexander Pieprzycki, middle, spikes one at New Trier's Peter Drozdzewicz (12) and Billy Fauntleroy during boys volleyball action Monday at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Stevenson's Leo Chen, middle, spikes one at New Trier's Peter Drozdzewicz (12) and Niko Gjaja on Monday at Stevenson.

      Stevenson's Leo Chen, middle, spikes one at New Trier's Peter Drozdzewicz (12) and Niko Gjaja on Monday at Stevenson. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Stevenson's Jeremy Sandrof returns a serve during their game against New Trier on Monday at Stevenson.

      Stevenson's Jeremy Sandrof returns a serve during their game against New Trier on Monday at Stevenson. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Stevenson's Peter Drozdzewicz returns a serve against New Trier on Monday at Stevenson.

      Stevenson's Peter Drozdzewicz returns a serve against New Trier on Monday at Stevenson. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Stevenson's Alexander Pieprzycki, left, meets New Trier's Billy Fauntleroy at the net Monday at Stevenson.

      Stevenson's Alexander Pieprzycki, left, meets New Trier's Billy Fauntleroy at the net Monday at Stevenson. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Stevenson's Austin Zhou, right, passes as Peter Drozdzewicz looks on against New Trier on Monday at Stevenson.

      Stevenson's Austin Zhou, right, passes as Peter Drozdzewicz looks on against New Trier on Monday at Stevenson. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Stevenson's Matthew Cliffer (1) celebrates after winning a point against New Trier on Monday at Stevenson.

      Stevenson's Matthew Cliffer (1) celebrates after winning a point against New Trier on Monday at Stevenson. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

The word on the street is Stevenson's boys volleyball team will be all right.

Yes, despite early season injuries, the Patriots have some major sluggers on offense such as Alex Pieprzycki (8 kills), Leo Chen (5 kills) and Mark Kanaris.

The Pats also have some able defenders -- Peter Drozdzewicz (11 digs), for instance.

However, the number 11 was a painful one in another way on Monday night as New Trier visited for a nonconference match.

On a Chen kill and a New Trier error in set one, the Pats' lead was impressive at 18-13. And then the serving game went kaput.

Stevenson (2-4) missed an unheard of 11 serves as the Trevians recovered and posted a 27-25, 25-19 win.

"We missed 11 serves and had no aces,'' said Stevenson coach Eric Goolish. "But we are close. We are playing 11 guys now and it's hard to get some consistency."

Pieprzycki, naturally wearing No. 11, isn't panicking just yet.

"We have a really strong team,'' Pieprzycki said. "We have a lot of potential. That showed in the beginning of the match."

That potential showed in the first set. The Stevenson serves that managed to get in caused many an error by the visiting Trevians. On a kill from junior Hudson Havenhill, the Pats' lead was solid at 15-11.

But the serving errors finally caught up with the home team.

New Trier also had a number 11. And 6-foot-6 Billy Fauntleroy had his kill pull the Trevians to within a point of Stevenson at 22-21. Pieprzycki had a clutch kill late in the set that knotted the game at 25-25.

The Pats are running a 6-2 offense in the early going. Senior setter Jeffrey Wang (12 assists) shares the duties with junior Arnav Mitra.

"We have plenty of weapons on the court,'' Wang said. "Everybody on this team contributes. All 11 players."

New Trier's comeback win in set one didn't carry much momentum heading to the second set, as there were 11 ties in the early going as neither team surged ahead.

Despite some heavy hitting by Stevenson, the Pats are still without the services of sluggers Justin Leonard and Grant Maleski.

On back-to-back kills from Pieprzycki, this second set as knotted up at 12-12. New Trier grabbed the lead late in the set with the help of some Stevenson hitting errors. The Pats did not go down quietly. Matt Cliffer and Chen registered kills late to delay the win by New Trier.

"We are still young in the season,'' Wang said. "We still believe in each other."

Zhou helped out in the back row with 5 digs. Kanaris added 4 kills for the Pats.

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