Boys volleyball: St. Viator downs Elk Grove
As the boys volleyball teams from St. Viator and Elk Grove got ready to do battle in a nonconference match Wednesday evening in Elk Grove Village, each was looking to bounce back from a home league loss the previous night.
The Grenadiers dropped a two-game decision to Buffalo Grove while the Lions lost a three-game set to Benet Academy.
Thanks in large part to their veteran-laden team, the Lions were able to gain the win with a two-set 25-15, 25-21 victory at Charles Aldrich Gymnasium.
"Honestly, finishing out a match has been an issue for us this season," St. Viator coach Katie Post said. "We start them out really well and we tend to fall back in the second and third sets. The fact that we're able to stick to the game plan from start to finish gave us a win tonight."
That win, Viator's seventh on the season, came to fruition as a result of solid starts in each game. Game 1 saw the visitors get off to a 13-5 advantage on the strength of 3 of sophomore John Zajakala's 5 kills. Senior George Bowman would help write the finish to the opening story with a kill and a trio of consecutive aces that left them on the doorstep of clinching the first set (24-12) that came four serves later when an Elk Grove serve failed to cross the net.
Bowman's Game 2 effort (3 kills, 5 blocks) helped keep the host school at bay as they knotted the Lions (7-9) up on eight separate occasions before a 4-0 run settled matters that featured a pair of Chris Perrota feeds set up by Bob Schultz and Zajakala kills with the latter serving as both game and match point.
Bowman, who totaled 6 kills, 6 blocks, and 3 aces on the evening, credited his squad's experience for their ability to return to the win column.
"Obviously you have to have a short memory, but with our varsity experience I think we realize that if you have a loss you can't bring it over to the next game. I think we do that extremely well," he said.
His head coach gave Bowman high marks for his performance.
"He came ready to play," Post said. "Clearly tonight, he had a lot of great transition kills."
Post also gave Zajakala (5 kills, 1 assist, 1 ace, 1 block) plaudits for his effort.
"At the beginning of the season he looked a little bit nervous, obviously being the youngest player on the team, but he's starting to come into his own," Post said. "He's gaining confidence. There's still some stuff to work on, but he's starting to come into his own."
A trio of juniors paced the Grenadiers (4-12) as Zack Eugene had 5 kills and a block, Sean Martinez added 4 kills and 2 assists and 6-foot-8 Mark Wickstrom tallied 4 aces in addition to a kill and a block.
"I'm seeing improvements," Elk Grove coach Dan Windholz said. "The difference in these last couple of matches is gaining the confidence to stop those little runs from happening. We're getting better. I feel it coming along. We've got to get these younger kids some more experience."