Boys volleyball: True to form, Buffalo Grove rallies to victory
Call them the never-say-die Bison.
Or maybe the comeback kids would be more appropriate.
Wednesday night at the boys volleyball regional championship match in Buffalo Grove, a completely in-synch Deerfield team had BG on the ropes with an 18-13 first-set lead.
But that might have been right where the Bison wanted to be.
"We've trailed in some tough games recently against teams like Hersey, Rolling Meadows and Barrington," said BG senior middle hitter Daniel Rogowski, "and we were able to rally and win all of those. Every time we get down, we come back strong."
It turned out to be no different against Warriors, as Buffalo Grove completely turned the tables to score a 25-23, 25-17 regional title win on their home floor.
"These guys believe in themselves," said Bison coach Tim Kosiek. "All year long our motto has been not to pay attention to the scoreboard, but instead focus on what we're doing on our side of the court.
"We've been in some battles against some great teams this season, and Deerfield is a great team," Kosiek said. "They were the No. 3 seed for a reason."
The BG game one rally started when junior Chris Tsourmas got a clutch block kill, and then the Bison tied the set at 21-all on a Deerfield hitting error.
Ryan Horvath scored a block kill to bring BG to game point, and took a one set advantage when the Warriors batted the next serve around twice but couldn't get the third hit over the net.
"We always battle," said Tsourmas. "All season one of our strengths has been our composure. We treated this match like any other match and we were up to the challenge."
BG, the No. 6 seed and the Mid-Suburban League champs, took a 3-point lead in the second set and kept siding out to maintain the advantage until the middle of the game.
Then, with the Bison leading 13-11, Greg Schneider on service led a point barrage and just like that it was 23-15 Bison.
Van Wazer got another kill to bring the game to match point, and Tsourmas closed it out with the final kill.
Tsourmas said his team didn't make any major changes after getting down in the match, but instead kept doing what it does best.
"We just kept on with the same system," said the junior. "All year long we've had the heart and the will to win, and that will to win gets us through the tough games."
Blake Maley led the BG defensive effort with 12-for-12 on serve receive to go along with 16 digs.
Rogowski had 10 kills while Van Wazer finished with 9, and Schneider was 12-for-13 from the service line.
"We just keep finding new ways to improve," said Rogowski. "When we play like we played tonight, I think we can take down any team in the state."
Maine South d. Hersey: In regional final play at Niles North, the Huskies exited the postseason with a 25-15, 23-25, 25-22 loss to the Hawks.
Matt Hopkins (12 kills), Angelo Coniglio (11) and Dan Swan (10) led the attack as the Mid-Suburban East's runner-up finished with season with a 27-10 record.
Setter Vince Reisel was 85-for-90 with 34 assists, while Justin Hong had a team-best 19 digs.
Hopkins led the way in blocks with 5, and Reisel (11-for-12) and Hong (10-for-11, 1 ace) paced the service effort.
Maine South advances to an Evanston sectional semifinal against Glenbrook North at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
Glenbrook North d. St. Viator: The East Suburban Catholic Conference champs saw their season come to an end in a 25-14, 25-22 defeat.
Senior setter Collin Cull finished 51-for-52 with 19 assists as the Lions completed their season with a record of 27-9.
James Woods led the attack with 8 kills, while Max Hogan and Tom Schreiber contributed 5 apiece for St. Viator.
Hogan and Pat Doherty produced a team-high 3 blocks, while Woods (10-for-10, 1 ace), Nathaniel Cull (7-for-7) and Collin Cull (7-for-7) generated perfect service efforts and Matt Trunk had a team-best 4 digs.
Lake Zurich d. Palatine: The Bears, seeded No. 2 in the Barrington sectional, advanced to a Friday semifinal matchup against Buffalo Grove by topping the seventh-seeded Pirates 26-24, 25-12.