EDWARDSVILLE - The Edwardsville High and Marquette Catholic boys volleyball team played one of the most intense area matches of the year on Tuesday night at Edwardsville and the Tigers emerged with a three-set win, 24-26, 32-30, 26-24 over the Explorers.
Both Edwardsville head coach Doug Allen and Marquette Catholic head coach Mark Ellebracht were excited about how both teams performed in the matchup.
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"We've played Edwardsville three times over our three varsity seasons and lost each time 2-1," Coach Ellebracht said. "This was the closest and most exciting match of the three. I am really proud of how we battled against a good program! I obviously look at things after the fact that we could have done differently and maybe we could have won, but in the end, we learned from it. We will now push ahead to next week and then regionals."
Edwardsville head boys volleyball coach Doug Allen echoed Ellbebracht's feelings about the contest: "It was probably the most intense match we've had all year. It was very competitive, we started out cold and got hot as the match progressed."
The win improved the Tigers' record to 11-15 on the season and are starting to play much better and also finished second in the O'Fallon Invitational Tournament last weekend, losing to Belleville East in the final. The Explorers are having an outstanding overall season and are now 16-7-2.The Tigers have run both hot and cold this season, which has been one of the main issues for the team. On Tuesday, the Tigers played a very clean match, with limited mistakes and it helped Edwardsville go on to the win.
"That's been our big issue this year," Allen said. "We've been running hot and cold all year, but we're going up now. We finished second at the O'Fallon tournament and we're starting to get hot at the right time, with the playoffs coming up. We played clean, but we're making too many unforced errors. When we play clean, we're very tough."
Joe Liston had another big match for Edwardsville, serving up seven points and an ace to go along with 17 kills, 13 digs and a block, with Micah Swank coming up with nine kills on the right side of the attack, along with four blocks and Lucas Gebhardt had two points, two assists and 22 digs, also receiving 36 Marquette serves without an error. As a team, the Tigers had 72 service receives without an error against the Explorers.
"Our serve-receive has been our biggest strength all season," Allen said.
Ryan DeClue had 12 kills and seven service points, and Rolen Eveans had nine kills and six service points. Other contributors were Connor Wieckhorst with five kills and five service points, Max Cogan with seven service points and three kills, Will Schwartz with five service points and one solo block, and Nick Trefny with two key solo blocks.
Wyatt Blunt also served up six points and an ace for the Tigers, going along with 19 assists and two digs, Colin Donaldson had four kills, three blocks and a dig, Logan Jasutis had seven points, an ace, seven kills, a block and six digs, Ben Kreke came up with a point, three kills and a block, De'Shawn Larson had two kills and nine blocks, Nathan Loftus had seven points and an ace, Nick Paschall had six points, three aces, 19 assists and nine digs, and Jacob Williams had five digs.
The Explorers wind up their regular season with matches at Waterloo Gibault Catholic Monday and May 17 in a match at home against Belleville West, with both matches set to start at 6 p.m. The Tigers play their final two regular-season matches at home, going against West Thursday night and Belleville East on their Senior Night match on May 16, both starting at 6 p.m.
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