Apparently, not everyone has discovered the magic of Google maps.
The bus ferrying Lincoln-Way North to Bolingbrook on Monday afternoon took a slight detour to the old high school, delaying the start of the match by about a half hour.
“It’s not so much that we were lost,’ Lincoln-Way North’s Brad McFarland said. “We went to the middle school and got directions here.”
Lincoln-Way North also had a little trouble finding its way during the early part of the 2014 season. A few new faces and some players who decided to forego the club season contributed to a somewhat sluggish start.
But those days are apparently behind the Phoenix, who rolled past the host Raiders 25-13, 25-17 in both teams’ Southwest Suburban Conference opener.
“From the get-go, this season has definitely been different,” said McFarland, who had five kills and a block Monday. “I feel Jake [Walenga] and I were closer to the seniors last year because we both came up early and been with them longer.
“Coming into this season, we had all the guys who’ve always been on the same level … freshman, sophomore. It was hard to gel at first. But since the Warren tournament, we’ve gelled really well. Once we get that permanent connection, I think we’ll perform better than we did last year.”
Lincoln-Way North (13-1) could not have performed better against Bolingbrook, charging to a 14-3 lead in Game 1 behind Walenga’s four kills. After Walenga took an early seat, middle Kenny Christensen took over with four kills and two blocks.
“Kenny [Christensen], J.T. [outside hitter Limon] and Austin [setter Faller] did not play club this year. But they’ve been doing a good job in practice getting up to par, doing what they have to do to be competitive against the best teams,” Lincoln-Way North coach Matt Lawrence said.
“Faller’s doing a great job running the offense, making some unbelievable sets. Kenny’s driving hard. He’s getting his timing down. Those guys are progressing all the time.”
Faller finished with 21 assists, a kill and two aces for the Phoenix, who also got four kills from Max Lawrence and four kills and a block from Limon.
Christian Ales led Bolingbrook (8-6-1) with nine kills and an ace, and Enrique Barajas added nine assists and two kills.
“Ales is the heart of the program,” Bolingbrook coach Andrea Bercot said. “He is what has propelled this program the last three years in the direction of being competitive. He loves volleyball. He dragged all his friends with him.
“He plays his heart out no matter what the score is. He’s going to be a great asset to whatever college program he goes to.”