Deerfield was never going to be a surprise to anybody coming into the season.
The Warriors returned one of the best combinations in the northern suburbs in CSL North co-player of the year Jacob Shapiro and setter Caedon Hsieh.
But what may have come as a surprise is how deep Deerfield really is. The Warriors attacked from all areas of the court in their 25-19, 25-14 win over Warren to start their 2018 campaign 1-0.
“Anything can happen in the first game, you just hope you prepared enough,” said Deerfield coach Eugene Chung. “They played with some energy, they looked like they were having fun and they’ve been practicing hard for this moment.”
As expected, Shapiro (10 kills, two blocks) was the main catalyst to help Deerfield off to a fast start, but when Warren started to commit on the block to stop the big middle, Hsieh (20 assists) really started to divvy up the sets to all of his hitters.
“We knew we were going to have more options for Caedon this year,” said Chung. “We’re going to be much better if teams dont key in on one or two guys.”
The two biggest beneficiaries of Shapiro’s presence in the middle were Deerfield’s two young outside hitters, junior Kelan Burns (four kills) and sophomore Jarion Hsieh.
Hseih (six kills) especially impressed on the pin as he displayed a varitey of shots that kept Warrens defense guessing. His performance was even more impressive when taking into consideration it was only his eighth day playing the position.
“Jarion is actually probably one of the areas best liberos,” said Chung. “Coming into the season we really didn’t anticipate a position change for him but we knew he liked to swing and he’s got such a head for the game. He’s only been playing outside for eight days and we said in the huddle, if he’s this good after a week what’s he going to be like a month in?”
After taking the first set 25-19 Deerfield started out the second set a bit slower than in set one.
Warren got out to a 9-8 lead behind Deerfield’s own mistakes as the Warriors gave the Blue Devils 18 free points throughout the match.
However, the slight lull in play did not last long. Deerfield ramped up the service pressure and were able to keep Warren out of system for the rest of the set.
“You’re expecting some errors, here and there but we overcame those,” said Chung “Our ball control could still be a little better, but we’re making some improvements and I’m sure we’ll have to make a couple of tweaks, we’re not there yet but we just wanted to come out and play well.”
The Warriors went on a nine point run to put them in a commanding position up 17-9 allowing their bench to get some playing time and coast to a 25-14 win.
Both Warren and Deerfield will compete in the Vernon Hills tournament this weekend. Deerfield were awarded the sixth seed in the field while Warren claimed the ninth spot.