THE SKINNY: Junior middle hitter Ryan Fitzgerald tallied 10 kills as host Zion-Benton knocked off Waukegan 26-24, 25-18 in a nonconference match.
THE TURNING POINT: Zion made a 5-0 run in the first game that flipped a 12-10 deficit, and the Zee-Bees (3-4) held the lead until a 5-1 Waukegan run evened the game at 22-22. Zac McKelvy got a lucky roll off the net that put Zion up 24-23, but Waukegan’s Andres Garcia answered with a kill. The Bulldogs’ Guzman hit long on the final two points to hand Zion-Benton the victory. Zion also had a 5-0 run early in the second game that broke a 4-4 tie and Waukegan was unable to get closer than two the rest of the way. At 12-10 Zion scored 13 of the final 17 points to win going away.
BY THE NUMBERS: For Zion, McKelvy had six kills. For Waukegan, Garcia and Guzman had four kills each and Teddy Coleman two.
QUOTABLE 1: “We did a good job getting (Fitzgerald) the ball in places where he could terminate for us, Our setter (Opeka) is improving, and that’s what we need from him: to improve every day and every game. We’re seeing that. Ultimately the setter is the quarterback of the team, and without that you’re going to be in trouble.” — Z-B coach Jacob Carlson
QUOTABLE 2: “With the kids that are on the floor, we’re maximizing what we can get out of every position. We’re hitting out of every spot where a hitter is available, and they’re able to do it. They have a better concept of defense than we’ve had in the past. It definitely wasn’t a smackdown. These kids are going to fight. They’re going to hustle, and they’ll probably come up with some amazing plays over the course of the season.” — Waukegan coach Rachel Wiatrowski
QUOTABLE 3: “Right now, we don’t have anybody playing club besides myself (and Andres Garcia). If we had more guys who played club, I think you’d see even bigger improvement.” — Waukegan’s Coleman