The Edwardsville High School Tigers defeated the Metro-East Lutheran Knights on their home court during the IHSA Class 3A Regionals at MELHS.

EDWARDSVILLE – In a unique match up between two schools that are located just under a half a mile away from one another, the Edwardsville High School Tigers and Metro-East Lutheran High School Knights faced off in the third of four IHSA Class 3A Regional matches.

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Unfortunately for the hosts at Metro-East Lutheran, the Knights fell to the Tigers in three sets (17-25, 25-23, 21-25).

Andrew Bersett, head coach of the Tigers, thinks the change of environment to a smaller gymnasium allowed his team to focus on the task at hand.

“This was a great atmosphere,” he said. “In boys volleyball, you get put in some of these big gyms. For some reason, the sport just hasn’t caught on. It’s really cool to play in a smaller gym and a great gym with a great environment. [Metro-East] brought a lot of fans out like I thought they would. This is fun, this is what it’s all about.”

Braden Woolsey flings himself in the air to further his team's score. The first set was in Edwardsville’s hands from the start, taking an early and heavy handed lead over the Knights. At one point in the set, the Tigers’ lead pushed upwards of 11 points over Metro-East Lutheran.

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The Knights came back onto the court in the second set with more determination and quite a bit more patience. Dilligently working to maintain the ability to serve, Metro-East held the lead until the very last five points of the game. The teams, which were tied at 20-20 for the first time in the set, fought tooth and nail for the opportunity to play a third set or to close it out once and for all. Unfortunately for the Tigers, the Knights came out on top, resulting in the required third and tie-breaking set.

The nail-biting third set was a battle of both wits and strength for the two teams. Each move had to be more calculated than the one before it, with everything on the line for both teams. The level playing field gave the teams’ defensive strengths time to shine, diving and dipping for the ball in some outlandish plays.

After tying at 13, 14, 17 and 19 points, the time had come for one of the teams to focus and pull off a win. Unfortunately for the Knights, the Tigers walked away with a win in the third set, knocking them out of postseason play.

The Tigers will go on to face the Belleville West High School Maroons in the Metro-East Lutheran Regional Championship at 6 p.m. this Wednesday back on Metro-East Lutheran’s home court.


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