Boys volleyball: Naperville North finds footing against Glenbard East
John Jaworski's performance Tuesday night mirrored that of his Naperville North boys volleyball team.
The junior outside hitter had a pair of errors to start the game and the Huskies staggered out of the gates, falling behind early to Glenbard East.
"Early on, our hitting just wasn't clicking," Jaworski said. "It got a little shaky for me. I was like, 'Whoa, what's happening?'"
But, just like his team, Jaworski found his footing. The Huskies rallied from two set points in the first two sets to claim a 26-24, 27-25 win over the Rams in Naperville.
"Glenbard East is a really good team," Jaworski said. "We didn't lose faith. Crowd kept pushing us with energy and we were just able to do our thing."
Doing their "thing" started with defense.
"I think that our passing and serve-receive kind of broke down (in the first set)," junior setter Connor Wojcik said. "We didn't really know how to handle the ball on our second contact as well and I think that we kind of broke down as a team."
Glenbard East (3-4) took advantage of Naperville North's defensive woes early on. The Rams raced out to a 9-5 lead on a Cal Iwinski block. Five of Glenbard East's points came off Huskies errors.
That forced Naperville North coach Nathan Bornancin to take a timeout, with the Huskies making some tactical and emotional changes.
"We weren't celebrating each point like we probably should have been," Wojcik said, "but then we were able to pick it up. Our energy and our celebrating helped to bring us together as a team."
It showed. Naperville North (7-4) scored the next four points out of the timeout, and eventually took an 18-17 lead on a Glenbard East net violation.
The teams exchanged points and the Rams took a 24-23 lead on a Huskies violation. Again Bornancin took a timeout and again Naperville North responded. The Huskies scored three straight, a Jake Kaufman ace sandwiched between a pair of Glenbard East errors to take the first set.
"Coach took the timeout to slow the ball down, probably ice the server (and) slow down his serve," Jaworski said. "That (allowed) us to have a better pass, better set and just a better kill."
Naperville North carried the momentum into the second set.
"We tried to come out and really focus on the start," Bornancin said. "We opened up a nice lead."
The Huskies got on a roll and had a 6-1 run to take a 15-9 lead in the second set.
"We did not take care of siding out very quickly," Glenbard East coach Marci Maier said. "We gave way too many free balls and they took care of them."
But the Rams found their footing. Glenbard East scored 11 of the nest 16 points, as Preston Cox set up Carson Brandt for a kill to tie the game at 20.
Naperville North took a 24-22 lead but had a pair of errors and Matt Smith had a kill for the Rams to give them a 25-24 lead and match point. Again Naperville North rallied, with Wojcik finding Zach Vaughn for a kill and getting an attack error to set up match point.
That's when Jaworski had a chance to capitalize his and his team's turnaround.
"Even if he misses a kill or serve or anything, I still have faith in him because I know that he's one of our most reliable players and I know he knows what he has to do and that he'll put the ball down," Wojcik said.
And Jaworski repaid Wojcik's faith, slamming home a kill for the win.
"Connor got me a good pass, Connor got me a one-on-one set and I was able to rip the ball," Jaworski said. "It's the greatest feeling in the world, oh my gosh."