Maine West shows its mettle, downs Elk Grove
Saint Xavier University recruit Kacper Pogorzelski just sees himself as part of the puzzle for Maine West boys volleyball team this season.
The 6-foot-3 Pogorzelski and his teammates solved their opponent for the second time in three days, this time posting a 25-12, 25-21 triumph over Elk Grove in front of big turnout in Des Plaines on Wednesday night.
"I'm just one of many weapons we have on this team," said Pogorzelski, who joined 6-2 classmate Mohammed Belhmidya as the Warriors' kill leaders with 7 apiece. " We have many weapons. We have them all over the place."
And junior setter Andrew Carter efficiently found them, handing out 17 assists as the Warriors improved to 2-0 on the season, including Monday's 25-16, 25-23 win over visiting Larkin.
"I think the biggest take-away tonight is that we improved from night one," said Warriors fifth-year coach Mike OBrill. "That was our first match and home opener and we had about 14 missed serves and a bunch of hitting errors. I think in the first set tonight, we had only two or three missed serves and maybe a handful more.
"The improvement is getting there. We are becoming more confident. The ceiling is really high and we have a lot of potential. I think when we can click and figure it out after this first week, it's going to be something special."
The Warriors looked like that special team when they finished the first set with a 10-3 run that included four straight service points from Carter, the final one coming on outside hitter Osiel Cruz' back row blast.
""I thought Oriel really swung well,'' OBrill said of the 6-1 senior who connected for 4 kills and collected 7 digs. "And Kacper is kind of our go-to kid. He had some errors but for the most part when he can connect he is pretty explosive."
Elk Grove (3-4) fell behind 4-0 in the second set after another four service points from Carter, including an ace.
But the Grens charged back and led 13-12 on a kill by senior Michael Kwasny.
Pogorzelski's side out kill sparked a 5-0 run by the hosts, who never trailed again.
Junior middle hitter Bartek Sarat led EG with 4 kills while senior libero Casey Keymolen collected 5 digs, including one on a nifty dive for a powerful attack that had the crowd roaring.
"That was a nice crowd for this early in the season," said EG coach Dan Windholz. "They had these stands filled almost like a basketball game. We just had to settle in a little more. They're (Maine West) very athletic.
"Just the fact that we didn't quit after that first set made me happy. We are going to see teams that are taller and more athletic and we're going to have to face that adversity a little better and not let them go on runs like tonight. But I told them if we play like we did in the second set, I won't be disappointed no matter who we play."
Senior Daniel Sankiewicz added 4 kills for West while classmates Marcin Siergiej had 2 and Larelle Potts 1.
"If we keep our errors to a minimum, we all know we can do great things," Pogorzelski added. "We have to stay consistent and be smart with our plays."