Friday, October 1, 2010

Big win for Boys Volleyball

from today's Waukesha Freeman --


Waukesha West 0

Memorial wins key matchup
Crusaders stay atop Classic 8

By Jeff Hagenau Freeman Correspondent

WAUKESHA – Trevor Novotny had some time to kill. Novotny, a 6-foot junior outside hitter, had a team high 22 kills as the secondranked Catholic Memorial High School boys volleyball team swept seventhranked Waukesha West 27-25, 25-13, 25-20 in a key Classic 8 Conference dual meet at Memorial on Thursday.

Memorial, which improved to 4-0 in conference and 4-1 overall, used an effective mix of steady serving, consistent passing and strong finishing spikes to set the tone. Leading 26-25 in what became the crucial momentum-building opening game, Novotny sealed the first-set victory with an overpowering spike to the middle of floor.

It proved to be critical turning point in the match as Memorial built early leads in both the second and third games en route to promptly ending the match in an hour. “I just tried to go out there, hit the ball hard and fire up my teammates,” said Novotny, who had seven thunderous kills on the left side of the net in the first game. “During the opening game, we struggled to maintain the intensity at times but managed to work through it and pull out a victory.

“Overall, it was a lot of fun to see everyone come together, play well in a biggame atmosphere and have another good night. West is one of our big rivals so it was great to take another step forward in the conference.”

Senior setter Drew North followed with three service aces and 19 assists for Memorial. Senior libero Dan Casper added eight digs for the Crusaders. For senior opposite-side hitter/middle blocker Kevin Koprowski, the battle of unbeaten league teams was exciting. “I live for the big game,” said the 6-1 Koprowski, one of four seniors on the roster for Memorial, which made its last WIAA state tournament appearance in 2007. “Being back on our home court, the atmosphere was great with the big, loud crowd. Everyone was into it and we really thrived off the energy. It was just a great night from start to finish. Our hustle during the second game made a huge impact.”

Koprowski played an integral role in helping to neutralize West’s tall front line, including senior middle hitter Dillon Kilpatrick. “We really tried to adapt to the situation,” Koprowski said. “Throughout the match, I tried to utilize my height on the outside to block the ball. It was just a matter of focusing on playing good defense and being aggressive on each point to offset their big outside hits.”

Memorial coach Mike Hanneman was encouraged about his team’s tenacious approach. “When we pulled out a hard-fought victory in the first game it really set the tone for the rest of the match,” said Hanneman, whose only loss came at the hands of top-ranked Marquette in a nonconference dual earlier this season. “Throughout the night, we relied on our tough serves to make them more one dimensional and take their middle hitters out of the game. That combined with good ball control allowed us to execute at a consistent level and finish points at key times.

“It was a relief to come out strong in the second game, build a lead and avoid any kind of a letdown. Everyone stayed aggressive and rose to the occasion.” Junior outside hitter Alex Jelacic had 15 kills and nine digs for West, which suffered its first loss of the season in dropping to 3-1 in conference and 4-1 overall. Sophomore setter Nick Wildes collected 30 assists for the Wolverines. “We matched their intensity for most of the first game but made a few costly fundamental errors,” West first-year coach Dan Rogutich said. “After that happened, it was mentally difficult to recover from and we struggled to get back on track. “Coming in, we had anticipated a tough, challenging match so it was a good test for us. It was our first loss of the season but we will take a lot away from the experience.”

Photo credit: Katie Derksen/Special to The Freeman Catholic Memorial sophomore Tony Mack goes up for a spike against Waukesha West on Thursday.

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