Boys volleyball: Downers Grove South cuts short match vs. Naperville Central

 
By Bobby Narang
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 5/21/2019 9:27 PM
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Brandon Parks stated the obvious on Tuesday night.

Every volleyball player wants to win a match in two games.

But this time the Downers Grove South senior outside hitter had recent history on his side.

On May 15 the Mustangs suffered a 2-1 home loss to Naperville Central.

Six days later, the two teams met in a Waubonsie Valley regional semifinal.

"We went to three games last time we played them and they beat us," Parks said. "We didn't want to tire ourselves out by playing three. I was thinking of sticking to my guns and helping my team out. The first game (today) I wasn't making serves and really not helping my team out. I wasn't passing well. I had to figure something out."

Late in the second game, with his team struggling, Parks took matters into his own hands. Parks tallied a kill and added an ace, then the Mustangs benefitted from a hitting error to pull out a 25-21, 28-26 victory over Naperville Central in Aurora.

The Mustangs (22-15) advance to play Metea Valley, which defeated West Aurora 25-22, 25-16 in the first semifinal, at 5 p.m. Wednesday in the regional championship match.

Parks netted a match-high 10 kills, while Connor Grabs finished with 6 kills, Brad Gall and Jack Tischler both had 4 kills.

Sophomore setter Nathaniel Cossyleon finished with 27 assists and libero Anthony Figueroa collected 6 digs.

"These guys were focused in from last week's match and through practice, they were ready to go," Downers Grove South coach Kurt Steuer said. "Brandon got his serve consistent and that helped us late. Jack Tischler is playing at a high level. These guys executed. We had good team focus."

The Mustangs pulled away in the first game behind consecutive kills from Grabs to seize a 21-18 lead.

In the second game the Redhawks, behind the big hitting from Carter Stenmark, seized a 24-21 lead following a kill from Stenmark.

But the Mustangs scored three straight points, highlighted by a kill from Parks that rolled along the net, right to left. The Redhawks regained their composure to take a 26-25 lead before Parks' hitting and serving them away.

The Redhawks (22-15) succumbed to their season-long habit of not putting teams away, coach Roger Strausberger said. Stenmark, a junior outside hitter, had a team-high 9 kills and senior setter Sam Wichhart tallied 17 assists.

"We've had a hard time closing off matches all year in which we've been up in," he said. "I think we have lost three or four matches that way this year, just where we had to make plays and couldn't. We were one sideout away from playing three."

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