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BG back in sectional final
By Bill Esbrook | Daily Herald Correspondent

Buffalo Grove's Joe Duda, left, and Chris Falknor keep their eyes on the ball Friday against Fremd. The Bison won their sectional semifinal 25-19, 25-17.


Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

Buffalo Grove's Joe Asher and Tom Angerame react after the Bison scored a point Friday night against Fremd.


Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

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Published: 5/24/2008 12:12 AM

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The Buffalo Grove boys volleyball team got back to basics.

Now the Bison are going back to the sectional finals.

Top seed BG parlayed some quality practice time on Thursday into a dominating performance Friday night in the Stevenson sectional semifinals, defeating fifth seed Fremd 25-19, 25-17 in Lincolnshire.

It was the second consecutive win for the Bison over the Mid-Suburban League rival Vikings, a team they beat in two games last week for the MSL title.

"We knew after last week's win that Fremd would come in here charged up and ready to play," said Bison junior defensive specialist Joe Duda.

"Coach (Matt Aiello) told us that as hard as we'd practiced, Fremd would be practicing as hard or even harder," said junior setter Dan Wichmann

Buffalo Grove, which lost a three-game heartbreaker to Mundelein in last season's sectional final, will face second seed Warren on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. for the sectional championship and a trip to the state finals.

"In practice yesterday we focused on the fundamentals," Aiello said. "We were a little sloppy (against Stevenson in a three-game regional championship win), so it was nice to get some work in."

The hard work paid dividends for BG in a dazzling display of hitting and defense in Game 1.

The Bison broke out early behind the hitting of 6-foot-6 senior Joe Ascher (18-for-20 on attack, 11 kills).

Fremd got as close as 11-9 on a Kevin Prest kill, but BG quickly extended the lead behind Jim Wizniak (7 kills) and Chris Falknor (7 kills) and took the first game handily.

"It was the same thing as in the MSL championship game," said Fremd coach Curt Pinley. "I told our kids that when it got to 10 we'd have to be even up or at the very least down by only 1."

"But when you get down by 3-4 points against a team of this caliber, it's tough to come back."

Fremd trailed Game 2 early but took a 9-8 lead after a kill from Ben Whitmer, but then a serving error combined with kills by Falknor and Wizniak put BG back up by 4.

"It wasn't so much the number of errors we made, it was that we made them at critical times," Pinley said.

Ascher's final kill closed out the win.

"We all had to step up," Wichmann said. "We really didn't make any changes to the way we played them the last time -- we just had to keep up the energy level."

Senior Daniel Teschner led Fremd on attack with 7 kills; defensive specialist Christopher Chandler recorded 8 digs; and Whitmer was 45-of-47 setting with 17 assists.

Defensive specialists Matt Bronson led BG with 26 digs, while setter Tom Angerame was 51-for-51 with 27 assists.

"We were able to withstand their runs and keep the pressure on them," Aiello said. "When we dictate what happens on the court, we're pretty good."

"They are an excellent passing team and they attack with consistency," Pinley said. "They don't make a lot of mistakes."