NEW LENOX – Monday’s boys volleyball match between host Lincoln-Way West and Minooka was an early test for the powerhouse teams who figure to be in the mix in their subsectional of the Belleville East Sectional when the playoffs come around.
After fourth-ranked Minooka used a late 5-1 run to pull out a win in the second set, second-ranked West scored seven of the last eight points in the third set to capture a 25-17, 23-25, 25-16 victory and improve to 14-1 on the season. The Indians are 11-3.
“In the guys’ game, it’s about staying in control with kids playing mentally,” West coach Jodi Frigo said. “We never give up, so my guys stayed composed and fought and were trying to earn back the ball on each point. We spread it out and try to get one-on-one situations as much as we can. They definitely pick each other up, and if we do make a mistake, we can shake it off a little bit easier since they know that have the support of their team.”
The Warriors only loss came against third-ranked Marist at Wheaton-Warrenville South. They’ll play Marist again on Thursday at home. The Indians have been beaten by top-ranked Glenbard West, and Lincoln-Way West and Marist.
“They’re a darned good team, and they got on a run,” Indians coach Mike Kargle said. “I put this one on me since we didn’t train hard enough yesterday or on Friday. We had a couple of days off here and there without playing. We went crazy the first two weeks, and we’ve been trying to give them rest, and they’re not a team that responds to rest. So we live and we learn, and we’ll come back to fight another day.”
In the third set, the Indians closed to within 16-14 on a kill and block by Evan Faifer (10 kills, eight blocks), but the Warriors responded with five straight points. Ben Pluskota (13 kills) started and ended that run, while David Flores (38 assists) was at the service line.
“We know that this team is in our sectional and will probably be standing in our way to get to state,” Pluskota said. “So we just wanted to establish ourselves as the better team right now. We knew what they had, and they came out with a lot of power on the outsides, but we played hard in the third set. Everyone on the team is good with each other.”
Other leaders for West were Chris Dargan (eight kills), Shane Wegrzyn (six kills), Nico Studer (five kills), Louden Moran (five kills) and Tyler Vedder (12 digs, 3.0 serve receive passing).
Other leaders for Minooka were AJ Lewis (11 kills), Rafael Vieyra (14 assists), Mack Tyrell (11 assists) and Collin Shields (nine digs).
“We have depth on the team and feel comfortable with anyone talking, and that’s how it’s good to be,” Vedder said. “We don’t have a powerhouse player, and we’re all equally dispersed. This will will help a lot for the postseason, it’s good for us.”