EDWARDSVILLE - The Edwardsville boys volleyball team ran hot and cold again, but Joe Liston came up big, along with the players in the middle, and the result was a Tiger win over Father McGivney Catholic 24-26, 26-24, 25-23 in the opener of the IHSA Edwardsville regional early Monday evening at Lucco-Jackson Gym.
The Tigers played well enough to get by a tough Griffins side to advance to Tuesday's semifinals, where they'll meet up with second-seeded Belleville East for a spot in the final.
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"We played like we've played all year, both hot and cold," said Edwardsville head coach Doug Allen. "We control our own destiny. I'm happy with the win; the guys fought hard to get the win, but we made it harder than it had to be."
Allen gave praise to McGivney, who scrapped and battled hard all throughout the match and never gave in to the end.
"They were pretty good," Allen said. "They're pretty competitive, they're really scrappy and hit up on the ball. We had a hard time in bringing the ball down."
The play of Liston, as well as the players in the middle, helped carry the Tigers to the win and although the statistics weren't available, it was their play that made the difference in the match.
"We leaned on Joe as much as we could tonight," Allen said, "and our middles played well, too. They played good."
The Griffins end their season at 16-10, while the Tigers are now 13-16 and move on to the semifinal match against the Lancers on Tuesday, with a start time of 5:30 p.m. This will be the fourth meeting of the season between East and Edwardsville, with the Lancers sweeping the Southwestern Conference matches and adding on a win in the final of the O'Fallon Invitational tournament.
"They've beaten us three times so far this season," Allen said, "We closed the gap the last time we played them and I think the boys are confident they can play with them. And these are the playoffs --- you never know."
In the other two matches played on Monday night at Edwardsville, Belleville Althoff Catholic defeated Bunker Hill 25-7, 25-10 and Alton eliminated Metro-East Lutheran 25-9, 25-18. The Crusaders are now 28-6 and the Redbirds improve to 16-16 and will play each other in the second semifinal on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. The Lancers-Tigers winner will plays the Crusaders-Redbirds winner in the regional final Thursday evening at 6 p.m. The Minutemen end their season 4-12, while the Knights conclude their season 6-15.
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