If there was still any doubt that there is more parity in the CSL South than any other conference, that opinion changed on Tuesday night.
After struggling in the start of conference play with losses to Niles West and New Trier, Maine South finally got back to winning ways with their 27-25, 20-25, 25-23 win over Glenbrook South.
“Hand it to GBS, their middles are excellent and we couldn’t contain them when they were passing very well,” said Maine South head coach Gary Granell. “It was hard to find someone to serve to but we did a better job of keeping them out of system later which helped down the stretch.”
Maine South and GBS both got out to flying starts. The Hawks asserted Grant Miller in the middle early to open up their pin hitters while Jack Shampine did the same for GBS with Konrad Wojslaw’s absence in the first set.
Both teams were very evenly matched for the majority of the opening set, as neither were able to pull away before Maine South’s Richie Hoff started to take over late.
Hoff put away nine of his game high 14 kills in the first set alone, many of which came down the stretch to help Maine South to an opening set victory.
“Richie was hitting smart and keeping the ball in play when he had to,” said Granell. “He’s had some issues where he tries to over swing sometimes but he was very in control tonight.”
Set two saw Wojslaw’s return to the lineup for the Titans and his presence in the match was felt straight away.
Setter Thomas Cavallaro (35 assists, four kills) fed Wojslaw (nine kills) early and often to help GBS jump out to an 11-4 lead.
Maine South slowly chipped away at the lead, working their way into the game by winning just a couple of points at a time to eventually cut the deficit to just three points at 21-18, but the Hawks were just unable to string enough points together to put any pressure on GBS as they forced a third set.
Just like the opening set, both teams were unable to find an inch of space in the final set. After exchanging points early, GBS found themselves with a 17-14 lead after a couple of long rallies went their way.
However, Maine South bounced right back behind right side hitter Jack Bolz. Bolz led the Hawks rally down the stretch, putting away five kills and two blocks in the frame to give Maine South a late 23-21 lead which they would carry to the finish line.
“Jack came up with a big couple of blocks, and couple of tools on the right side,” said Granell. “When we get him the ball he’s a weapon for them.”
GBS will have an opportunity to get back in the win column in the CSL South straight away with a match against Evanston on Thursday, while Maine South will head to Frankfort for the weekend for the highly competitive Lincoln-Way East tournament.