EDWARDSVILLE - Nick Paschall and Joe Liston came up with big matches for Edwardsville, but Alton's vastly improved team was too much this time for the Tigers in a Southwestern Conference boys volleyball match to Alton 25-21, 25-23 Tuesday evening at Lucco-Jackson Gym.
Under Coach Jenna Wideman, the Redbirds have posted a 9-8 record overall as of Thursday for the season. The Redbirds fell to Father McGivney 25-17, 25-19 on Wednesday. The Tigers went to 4-6 on the season and head coach Doug Allen gave Alton much praise after the match.
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"I would say that Alton is a much-improved team over the last couple of years," Allen said. "The coach (Jenna Wiedman) has really improved their program the last couple of years and they're pretty good. They're very scrappy."
As far as the Tigers, Coach Allen said there was a lot of inconsistency against the Redbirds.
"We're making a lot of physical and mental errors," he said. "We have the talent to be a top-tier team, we just have to develop more maturity. And it will come."
The Tigers are a very hard-working group who do well in their training sessions, Finding consistency in the matches has been the biggest problem for the team.
"They work pretty hard in practice, and I can't complain too much," Allen said. "They lose focus and intensity sometimes and I think it's we're going through some growing pains right now."
The good thing is that the Tigers are learning from their mistakes and are determined to improve and get better.
"They're learning from their mistakes," Allen said, "and we are going to get better. We kind of control our own destiny and that's been the problem. When you have the talent we have, it's better to control our destiny. We'll put it together eventually."
Ryan Mcnamee, Jack Ramsey, Ashton Shepers, James Hull, Bryant Johnson and Austin Norton have led the Redbirds in stat categories on the season. Mcnamee had recorded 25 blocks in recent stats for the season, Norton had 10 serving aces, Hull 75 digs and 167 assists. Norton and Ramsey are averaging more than 2 kills per set, while Johnson 1.4 kills per set.
Allen did point out to both Paschall and Liston as his two best players on the evening and the stat lines point it out very well. Paschall served up nine points and had 12 assists in the match, while Liston had four points and eight kills. Wyatt Blunt also had a good match with 10 assists, while Colin Donaldson had a kill and an assist, Lucas Gebhardt came up with three kills and an assist, Blake Hauschild had two kills and a block, Logan Jasutis had a point, seven kills and a block, Ben Kreke came up with five kills, Nathan Loftus served up two points and an ace, Micah Swank had two kills and Brayden Wallis served up three points and two assists.
The Redbirds play at Whitfield of West St. Louis County on Apr. 19 and are at Granite City Apr. 20, with both matches starting at 5:30 p.m. The Tigers start a long road trip on Thursday, playing at Belleville West, then are at O'Fallon Apr. 18, both matches starting at 6:15 p.m., then are at Belleville East Apr. 25 at 5:30 p.m.
Allen knows that the Tigers will keep working hard and hopes to eliminate the inconsistent play as the season continues.
"There are some positives," Allen said, "and we have to get it so the positives outweigh the negatives."
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