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The New Lenox Patriot 041218

46 | April 12, 2018 |

46 | April 12, 2018 | The New Lenox Patriot Sports Knights’ outside hitters put on show against Glenbrook South RANDY WHALEN Freelance Reporter Already a varsity veteran of three years for the Lincoln-Way Central boys volleyball team, junior outside hitter Jack Yurkanin usually lets his play do the talking. Yurkanin did that as he teamed up with senior outside hitter Garrett McCrea to combine for 21 kills and three aces as Central closed a short stretch of matches with a 25-21, 25-21 victory over Glenbrook South on April 4 in New Lenox. Senior setter Aidan Mc- Guire (23 assists) and junior libero Sebastian Olmos (5 digs) for the Knights (8-5), who rebounded from a threeset loss the day before to Naperville Central. “We’re a rowdy bunch that really wants to win,” Yurkanin said. “There’s a lot of energy on this team.” While off the court, Yurkanin is pretty laid back. But on the court, watch out. “He’s our most passive kid,” Central coach Mary Brown said of Yurkanin. “Until he goes up to put the ball down.” In the opener, Yurkanin had a half dozen of his 10 kills, including the set winner. That helped the Knights to never trail in the first set. The score was tied just once, at 3-3. Then McCrea (11 kills, ace) and senior middle hitter Joe Claffy put down backto-back kills in a 4-0 run that put Central ahead for good. Leading 8-7, the Knights had a 7-2 spurt to take charge. An ace by McCrea gave them a 24-17 lead. Glenbrook South (0-2), which traveled in from Glenview and was treated to a pizza party after the match, saved four set points. But Yurkanin yelped a kill to end the opener. “We’re still figuring out some stuff, but I think we have a good road ahead of us,” Yurkanin said. “I thought that we played pretty well [against Glenbrook South], and I think we’re getting better this year. I want to see us play the toptier teams as best as we can. We lost several seniors from last year, but we have a lot of players who are coming back and are filling in the spots.” The Titans, who played only their second match of the season, raced out to a 5-0 lead in the second set. But Central responded with five straight points of its own to tie it and only trailed one more time (6-5) after that. The score was tied 13-13 when junior middle hitter Brendan McCarthy and junior outside hitter Aidan Heniff got kills to end a 3-point burst that gave the Knights the lead for good. The Titans never got closer than two points the rest of the way. A Yurkanin kill made it 24-20 and after a side out, McCarthy mashed a kill to end it. Junior outside hitter Stephen Daus (4 kills) and junior middle hitter Jack Shampine (3 kills, block) led the Titans. A year ago Central finished 28-10 and won its third regional title in four years and ninth since 2004. But eight players graduated from that team, meaning the Knights had to reload for this season. “I’m really proud of our team since we have a lot of young kids who are coming up who were sophomores last year,” McCrea said. “’We were nervous coming into the season, so we didn’t start out that strong, but we’re getting better and better in each [match]. “Even though we have a really hard sectional at Brother Rice, [with most of the top teams in the state], I think as we go through the season that we’ll be able to fix all of our errors. We’re a really hardworking bunch, and we really bust our butts in practice day Jack Yukanin spikes the ball April 4 during a nonconference matchup against Glenbrook South in New Lenox. Photos by Julie McMann/22nd Century Media in and day out. We have lots of fire and have a chip on our shoulders.” The lineup changes have worked though. “Last year, I had to take the libero and make him the setter, and I had to do that again this year,” Brown said of Mc- Guire stepping into that role. “He was good enough and said he wanted to try it and played club as a setter, and he’s coming around. It’s just a little scary since we have to run a fast offense, and the timing has to be perfect. “The key is obviously our two outside hitters [Yurkanin and McCrea], who are our spark plugs. I was pleasantly surprised as to how the guys progressed this year. The thing that I’m still working on is putting the puzzle together, since we still really don’t have a set lineup. We play really well and then lack the focus and tend to get a lot of unforced errors in a row. Central libero Sebastian Olmos digs a ball. I knew that it was going to perville Central, Yurkanin be a work in progress; I just hope that we can figure it out soon because once the season starts, it goes fast. In the aforementioned loss the day before against Na- (14 kills, 3 aces), McCrea (11 kills, 5 digs) and McGuire (22 assists, 4 digs) led the way. This week the Knights traveled to Joliet Catholic Academy on Monday, April 9 and then hosted Richards the next day in another nonconference contest. Next Monday, April 16 brings a local nonconference matchup as Central hosts Providence at 6 p.m. Sports the New Lenox Patriot | April 12, 2018 | 47 fastbreak Boys Volleyball Warriors show grit in another three-set victory 22nd Century Media File Photo 1st-and-3 Starting April right 1. Lincoln-Way boys lacrosse (above) As of April 5, Lincoln- Way boys lacrosse has an undefeated record of 9-0. On April 2, the unit blew out Naperville Central 17-1 on the road. The team has outscored its opponents 120-35. 2. Kevin Davis The Lincoln-Way West power hitter was the hero of the April 2 win over Homewood- Flossmoor. He hit the game-winning RBI to lead a 10-9 win in a high-scoring affair. 3. Brandyn Cullen Just like last year, the Warriors are out to a hot start, and some of that winning production is credited to Cullen. He had four kills and four aces Thursday, April 5 against Lemont in a two-set win. Ben Plustoka to return from injury to give West added offensive threat RANDY WHALEN Freelance Reporter So far this season the Lincoln-Way West boys volleyball team has gone the distance. The Warriors hope to go the distance at the end of May too. West survived a pair of match points in its opener April 2 and rallied for a 21-25, 27-25, 25-12 victory over York in a nonconference matchup in New Lenox. That was the first of a pair of victories on the week for the Warriors (11-3), who improved to 5-2 in three-set matches with the win over York. “We have five of our seven starters back,” West coach Jodi Frigo said. “We’re still young and there’s times it shows. But we’re winners and don’t give up.” There’s only two seniors on this season’s team for West. They are outside hitter Brandyn Cullen, who had 13 kills and 12 digs against York, and middle/right side hitter Jack Ryan. “We usually get off to a slow start and end up going three sets,” Cullen said. “I think all of our parents are aggravated with us. But we’re fighting and everyone usually finds their rhythm.” After dropping the first set against York, the Warriors were fighting through the second set, which featured 11 ties and five lead changes. Things looked good for West early with leads of 11-6, 13- 7, and still led 15-11 when the Dukes made their move. Senior middle hitter John Nosek (8 kills) had a pair of kills to start a 5-0 run that gave them a 16-15 lead. The score was then tied five straight times through 20-20. But Cullen had three kills as the Warriors went out to a 23-21 lead. But back came York with three straight points, including a tip kill by Nosek to lead 24- 23. Cullen saved a match point with a kill, but back came Nosek with another kill to give the Dukes a 25- 24 advantage and another match point. Then sophomore Tyler Vedder, who is usually the Warriors libero but has been pressed into duty as an outside hitter, had a tip kill to once again tie the score at 25-25. Vedder (4 kills, 13 digs) added another kill and junior middle hitter Chris Dargan (7 kills) deposited a block to give West the second set. Bolstered by their comeback in the second set, it was all Warriors in the third set. They raced out to leads of 2-0, 6-1, 10-2, 13-3, and 15-4. York never got closer Lincoln-Way West right side Louden Moran is one of many returners on the Warriors this season. Last year, the team started the year 12-0, and this year they have a record of 11-3 as of April 6. 22nd Century Media File Photo than nine points the rest of the way. Junior setter David Flores (33 assists), junior right side hitter Louden Moran (9 kills) and junior libero Nicky Studer (16 digs) also contributed for West. “It’s been a ride,” Cullen said of the Warriors going the distance in many of their matches. “It just seems to all depend on our energy. When we have a lot of energy, we feed off each other and it goes great. I love the chemistry the team has. A lot of us guys play club together and that helps us find a rhythm.” There wasn’t much rhythm for West in the opener. There were five ties through 8-8. Then the Dukes went on a 5-1 run to take the lead for good. The Warrior did close within 14-13, but then made five errors in an 8-2 York spurt that made the score 22-15. Trailing 24-18, the Warriors saved a trio of set points, including a pair of kills by Moran. But senior setter Ryan Schaner smacked a block to give the Dukes the Set One win. “We made a lot of unforced errors, but we’ve played a lot of volleyball in the last few days,” Frigo said after the York match. “To make it work, we have to go back to basics. We have a bunch of good volleyball players rotating in and out. One of our outside hitters - [junior] Ben Pluskota, has been out with a fracture in his wrist. He just got cleared [before the York match], but we didn’t play him. When we do, Tyler Vedder will go back to playing libero.” The weekend before, on Friday, March 30 and Saturday, March 31, the Warriors traveled to the Wheaton- Warrenville South Tiger Classic and won the Silver Division Bracket. That meant that West finished ninth overall in its first ever appearance in one of the most prestigious tournaments in the state. Every match went five sets, with the Warriors going 4-1 in them. Their only loss was a 25-21, 22-25, 25-16 setback to eventual tournament champion, Neuqua Valley. Later last week West hosted Lemont on Thursday, April 5 and came away with a 25-20, 25-18 victory. While the Warriors were glad to win so many threeset matches, they were glad to capture this one in two. Cullen (4 kills, 4 aces), Flores (9 assists), and Ryan (4 kills) led the way. West, which lost to eventual state runner-up and District 210 rival Lincoln-Way East 25-21, 25-22 in the title match of the Joliet West Regional last fall, will not have to see another Lincoln-Way team in the sectional this season. That’s because Lincoln- Way Central and East are in the Brother Rice Sectional, with most of the other top teams in the state, while the Warriors were placed in the Minooka Sectional and will host a regional as part of that. This week brought a good nonconference matchup on Tuesday, April 10 as the Warriors hosted St. Rita. The schedule really picks up next week with a big nonconference match at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17 at Marist. That’s followed by the SouthWest Suburban Conference opener on Thursday, April 19 at 5:30 p.m. as the Warriors host Sandburg. Friday, starting at 5 p.m., and Saturday, starting at 9 a.m., brings a trip to the always competitive Brother Rice Invite. LISTEN UP “When we have a lot of energy, we feed off each other and it goes great. I love the chemistry the team has.” Brandyn Cullen – Lincoln-Way West outside hitter, on the Warriors’ 11-3 record as of April 6 Tune In Girls Soccer 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 17 • The Lincoln-Way Central girls soccer team will look to keep its momentum going against a stiff test at Lincoln-Way East. Index 44 – This Week In 42 – Athlete of the Week FASTBREAK is compiled by Editor James Sanchez,