EDWARDSVILLE - Preston Weaver served up seven points and had 25 assists, while Evan Reid had seven points and 12 kills as the Edwardsville boys volleyball team defeated Belleville West 25-16, 25-16 in a Southwestern Conference match Thursday evening at Lucco-Jackson Gym.

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The Tigers won over a young Maroon team that kept battling and never gave up, and it was a squad that really made a positive impression on Edwardsville head coach Scott Smith.

"We played against a very young West team," Smith said, "but they got some very good digs, and they hustle. When I found out how many freshmen and young a varsity team they are, I was really impressed with how the young team hustled, and their effort. They're young, but in the next couple of years, they're only going to be more of a threat."

Weaver had another great match for the Tigers, and he's proving to be a very key player for Edwardsville's success this season.

"It would be rare if he didn't have a great match," Smith said of Weaver. "He's such an amazing athlete, and so competitive."

Reid also had a great match with his kills, leading the way to a team total of 30 kills with no service receive errors.

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"Evan was flying all over the court," Smith said, "and hitting the ball better than I've ever seen. He was consistent, and so fun to watch."

Tyler Cherneka also made a great contribution with 16 digs to help the Tigers' defense.

"Tyler Increases to read the other team's offense," Smith said, "and puts himself in great position to make plays."

The Tigers' junior varsity team is also off to a great start, winning over West in two sets to increase its mark to 2-0 as well, and Smith feels that both the JV and varsity teams are already clicking on all cylinders.

"I'm more than pleased," Smith said. "The guys are working hard in practice and challenging each other to get better every day. They're all getting along well in practice and matches, and they're creating strong social bonds, which is great to see."

The Tigers will play their first road match of the season Friday evening at Alton, then play at O'Fallon on Tuesday. Smith knows that his team will be ready for the challenges ahead.

"Win or lose, we're just trying to get better," Smith said. "We're off to a good start, and we'll try to keep things going next week."

Dan Brannan also contributed to this story.

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