Boys Volleyball: Joliet Catholic outlasts Plainfield South
By Dick Goss firstname.lastname@example.org March 21, 2013 9:46PM
Updated: April 23, 2013 2:17PM
Keep it simple.
On a night when both teams struggled to get into a rhythm, Joliet Catholic finally found the remedy.
“We figured out that if we simplify our offense, we make it easy on ourselves,” Hilltoppers left-handed outside hitter/opposite Mike O’Neill said after Thursday’s 22-25, 25-20, 25-13 victory at Plainfield South. “We’re OK if we don’t try to do too much.”
“I wish we didn’t wait a game and a half,” Joliet Catholic coach Rhyen Staley said. “What we did later in the match is our ongoing discussion. Do what we’re good at, and do it over and over.
“We have a lot of young guys, and sometimes young players overthink. Let’s just get good at what we want to get good at.”
One key for the Hilltoppers (1-1) was getting outside/middle hitter Adam Janusz-Lancaster to the net, where he could carve up the Cougars (1-1). He came on like gangbusters down the stretch and finished with nine kills, one more than O’Neill.
“It was a little tighter than it should have been,” Janusz-Lancaster said. “I was trying to do some new stuff, and that wasn’t working. I finally ran quicks to the middle, and we took over.
“We played with so much energy at the end. That’s the way we want to play every point.”
After trailing most of Set 1, South rode the hitting of outside hitter Brandon Reyes (10 kills) to victory. The Cougars’ last lead of the night was 15-14 in Set 2. Joliet Catholic led 8-2 and 12-4 early in Set 3 and never let up.
“We made a lot of miscues and they took advantage,” said Cougars coach Bob Majka, whose team got seven kills from outside hitter James Hill and three blocks from outside hitter Shawn Goff. “We did not make them work. We gave them chances and they buried it down our throats.”
Majka noted the Cougars made seven service errors in Set 1, “yet we somehow won that game. Then we made more in Game 2, and that hurt us. In Game 3, we were out of it.
“Another thing was we had very few blocks, and blocking was something we thought we had to do well.”
Joliet Catholic was on an opposite path in Set 3, when the Hilltoppers posted a .424 hitting percentage.
“We’re like a major league baseball team,” Staley sad. “Our goal is to hit .300, and if we do that, we’ll win a lot of matches. To hit .424 in a game is excellent.”
Outside hitter Blake Reardon, a freshman, chipped in with six kills and setter Louis Dow had 49 assists for Joliet Catholic. But it was Janusz-Lancaster’s hitting that decided it.
“What you saw at the end from Adam, he should play at that level all the time,” Staley said. “And I’m really, really happy with our freshman, Blake.
“That last game was fun to watch. We figure out how to do this against seasoned teams and we could be really good.”