Sometimes the last few points of a game can be painfully elusive.
Hinsdale Central built leads of 21-10 in Game 1 and 20-12 in Game 2 against West Chicago in the teams’ regional quarterfinal Monday at Metea Valley. But the Wildcats, who featured two freshmen and two sophomores among their top six, wouldn’t go away easily.
“Sometimes you get stuck and it’s almost impossible to get out of it,” Hinsdale Central senior middle hitter Grant Kelly said. “You just have to keep going. Somehow you’ll get out of it.”
Hinsdale Central (23-12) finally prevailed 25-16, 25-18 to advance to Tuesday’s regional semifinal against No. 3 seed St. Francis. Kelly knows that any loss could be the end of his volleyball career.
“It’s a little emotional,” said Kelly, who led the Red Devils with 10 kills. “Any game could be my last game, maybe for my life. So every game you have to go 150 percent. I don’t want to leave any regrets for the last game.”
Kian Peterson added 23 assists, two aces and three kills for Hinsdale Central, which also got seven kills from Jake Regnery.
Six-foot-one freshman outside hitter Elijah Pinkevich paced the Wildcats (11-24) with six kills and a block, Brian Benes had five kills, Logan Bruce added three kills and three blocks and junior setter Michael Quiroz had 15 assists
”We kind of came out a little intimidated,” West Chicago coach Kris Hasty said. “We started to play a little bit. That was fun. We had two freshmen and two sophomores out there. Nobody’s ever been on varsity before this year. In a couple of years we should be all right.”
In the second quarterfinal, Metea Valley (23-12) survived a major scare from St. Joseph in the first game before pulling away for a 25-23, 25-15 victory and a date with sixth-seeded Glenbard East in Tuesday’s other semifinal.
St. Joseph (12-6) led Metea Valley 19-16 and the teams were even at 23-23 before kills by the Mustangs’ Enrique Lopez and sophomore Joe Berka allowed the hosts to escape the first set.
“Our energy was kind of low, we came out a little flat and our passing was a little bit off,” Metea Valley setter Andrew Miller said. “The balls were flying everywhere. Once we established the middle at the end of the first game it slid right into the second set, we were able to come out fast and get a big lead.”
Tom Wieland led Metea Valley with seven kills, Lopez added four kills and Miller had 17 assists and an ace.
Yuriy Adaskevych led the Chargers with eight kills and two aces, 6-6 junior middle Christian Mullis had five kills and Antonio Sanchez added 10 assists.
“I wish we had more communication in the second game,” Adaskevych said. “In the first game it was just our little mistakes. If we had just pulled through and fought a little harder we would have got that first one. Maybe we would have pulled through and had more motivation in the second game.”