BELLEVILLE - Kaden Chiapelli had nine kills while Jacob Geisen had eight kills, Preston Weaver had 32 assists and Evan Reid served up seven points as Edwardsville's boys volleyball team rallied from a set down to defeat Belleville Althoff Catholic 18-25, 25-15, 28-26 to win the IHSA Belleville West regional Thursday evening at the West gym.

The Tigers improve to 11-1 on the season and advance to the Minooka sectional and will meet up with O'Fallon in the semifinal Saturday evening at Belleville East's gym. The Panthers won over the Lancers in their own regional 21-25, 25-9, 25-23 to move on to the sectional.

The Tigers lost in the first set, but rallied to take the last two sets and played very well after losing the opening set.

"The first set, we were not playing well at all," said Edwardsville head coach Scott Smith, "and it was similar to the sets we had dropped in the last couple of weeks. But in the second and third sets, we started to play our volleyball, the crowd was pumped up and we pumped each other up."

Chiapelli and Geisen, the two outside attackers, played exceptionally well in getting kills and making plays that helped the Tigers in their attack.

"The outside attackers, Kaden and Jacob. really started striking the ball well," Smith said, "and we really relied on them a lot."

The Crusaders played well also, and were prepared well by their coach, Tony Miner, a former Edwardsville player and assistant coach.

"They were a completely different team than the last time we played them early in the season," Smith said, "and that's a testament to Tony's coaching."

The third set was a seesaw affair that saw many close calls, but the Tigers were able to keep their composure and kept on going.

"It was back-and-forth, back-and-forth at the very end of the third set," Smith said, "and there were a lot of close calls that could have gone either way. But they were able to overcome frustration and get the next point."

Miles Bell had nine kills, a dig and two blocks for the Tigers, while Chiapelli had five points, an ace, nine kills, nine digs and three blocks, Tyler Chrenka had 10 digs and an assist, Geisen had six points, an ace, eight kills and 12 digs, John Kreke had two points, a kill, three digs, and five blocks, Liam Marsh served up seven points with a dig, Reid had seven points with an ace, eight kills, five digs and a block and Weaver had five points, two aces, two kills, 10 digs, 32 assists and two blocks.

Edwardsville will play against a familiar foe in O'Fallon in the sectional semifinal match on Saturday that starts at 4:30 p.m. Many of the Tiger and Panther players are club teammates, and both teams know each other very well, which could lead to a very close match.

"I anticipate more than one set going beyond 25 points," Smith said, "because we know each other so well, and we're so evenly matched."

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