Boys volleyball: Deerfield ends Lake Zurich's season
An instant classic.
When Lukas Pytlak put one away, and coupled with a Deerfield hitting error, the fifth-seeded Bears of Lake Zurich were one winning set from a trip to the Machesney Park Harlem boys volleyball sectional.
It didn't happen.
Lake Zurich (24-14) was within 14-12 in the decisive third set with the top-seeded Warriors. Lake Zurich's late season run ended in the Libertyville regional final Wednesday night as Deerfield prevailed 25-21, 24-26, 25-21.
"Our defense improved so much since we played Deerfield in a tournament earlier this year,'' said Lake Zurich coach, Lesly Ravenscraft.
The Bears lost 14 matches this season. How did they reach the regional championship game?
"We had a bumpy start,'' Pytlak noted. "We would lose and we would win. Once the playoff season started, we were off and running."
The first set was no runaway for the Warriors.
On a block from Evan Bajerski, the underdog Bears were up 12-10. Lake Zurich was still in the set when setter Justin Stewart blocked a shot. It was 22-20 Deerfield.
In the second set, Lake Zurich surged with Bajerski at the serving line. He received a block kill from Marcel Wiechnik and 2 kills from Bartosz Wielgos (17 kills).
"Our intensity picked up in the second set,'' Pytlak said. "We won some key points."
It was 7-4 Lake Zurich. With Kyle Lamb serving, another Bajerski block and Lake Zurich's lead was 19-16.
The decisive third set stood tied at 6-6. Another block from Wiechnik and yet another kill from Wielgos made it so.
"The third set got away from us,'' Ptylak admitted.
The Deerfield lead stretched to 20-14. Lake Zurich did not fade away. Setter Stewart was at the line when Bajerski put together 2 blocks. Logan Schaedel put one down and the Bears were within 23-20.
Pytlak backed up Wielgos with 9 kills and an ace. In addition to his 17 kills, Wielgos had 2 blocks. Schaedel had 5 kills. Wiechnik had 2 kills and 2 blocks. Bajerski had 5 kills and 4 blocks.
The Bears have some goodbyes to send to their seniors as Wielgos, Wiechnik, Lamb, Robert Mepham, JP Madison and Adam Krasowski graduate.
The next Bears team can build around Bajerski, Ptylak, Schaedel and libero Daniel Young.