Buffalo Grove's Nick Baronti spikes the ball past Hersey's Bobby Dolan on Tuesday.
JOE LEWNARD PHOTO
There was a buzz around the Hersey campus Tuesday night, and not all of it had to do with the Hollywood film crew that was shooting scenes for the remake of "A Nightmare on Elm Street."
In Ken Carter gymnasium, there was also electricity in the air, as the vastly improved Huskies boys volleyball team faced Buffalo Grove, last year's state tournament runner-up and undefeated in the MSL this season.
Sadly for Hersey, once the match started it was, well, a horror show instead of the high drama the Huskies were hoping for.
The Bison, on top of their game in every aspect, rolled over Hersey 25-20, 25-10 to clinch at least a tie for the Mid-Suburban East Division title.
Buffalo Grove (22-4, 8-0) held a double-digit lead in each game.
"We didn't want this to go to three games like the last time," said BG's 6-foot-6 junior hitter Nick Baronti, referring to the tense match the Bison played earlier in the year against the Huskies. "The last time, we fell apart in the second game. Tonight we were as strong in the second game as we were in the first game."
"We were fired up," said Huskies coach Jodi Blazek, "But you have to give credit to Buffalo Grove - they're a very solid team."
Baronti hammered 6 of his match-high 11 kills in Game 1 as the Bison rolled to a 20-10 lead.
"He's an outstanding hitter," said BG coach Matt Aiello. "He can hit from any spot on the floor, which is very impressive for a lefty."
Hersey (12-8, 5-3) staged a mild Game 1 rally on the strength of 3 late kills from junior Paul Kolesar, but BG closed it out on a Baronti slam - then cruised to a 9-2 advantage to start Game 2.
"We knew coming in tonight that we had a chance to clinch," said BG setter Dan Wichmann (47 of 48, 29 assists). "We didn't want this to go three games. We wanted to finish it off in two."
"Dan did a great job of distributing the ball," Aiello said. "When we're running our offense on all cylinders the way we were tonight, I don't know of anyone who can stop us."
BG kept the pressure on in the latter stages of the second game and fittingly, an ace by Baronti closed out the match.
BG senior outside hitter Chris Falknor slammed 8 kills, sophomore Chris Shanahan hit 5, and Joe Duda led a strong defensive effort with 12 digs.
Baronti and Nick Mau each added 3 blocks.
"Mau did a nice job in the middle," Aiello said. "He's been working hard in practice and it's paying off. We played very clean volleyball for almost two full games, and to be honest, I still don't think we've put a complete match together. Even tonight we had a little bit of a letdown at the end of the first game.
"At this point in the season, we talk about reaching the goals that we've set for ourselves, and tonight we moved one step closer to those goals."
Conant d. Palatine: Senior Evan Lejman put down 10 kills as Conant posted a 23-25, 25-20, 25-22 victory. Matt Schimel added 8 kills and Dan Dewar 7 for the Cougars (18-8, 5-3).
Nat Pearson (12 kills) and Brian O'Hara (10) led Palatine.
Rolling Meadows d. Elk Grove: Tyler Vinezeano (8 kills) led the attack for Rolling Meadows (12-7, 4-4) in a 26-24, 25-22 triumph.
Nick Marek handed out 10 assists for the winners while teammate Brian Mulvihill had 6 good serve receives.
Fremd d. Barrington: Fremd (20-5, 7-1) posted a 23-25, 25-20, 28-26 victory as Brian Allen led the Vikings with 14 kills, followed by Trevor Clark (9) and Calhan Nolan (7).
Michael Smearman had 31 assists for the winners while Christian La Bar handed out 34 for the Broncos who were led by Randy Lorenz' 25 kills.
Benet d St. Viator: Lucas Underys (7 kills), Mike Czopek (4 kills) and freshman Michael Leazer (4 kills) led the offense for the Lions in the ESCC match won by Benet 26-24, 25-19.