St. Francis and Glenbard East both had something to prove Tuesday night in the Metea Valley Regional semifinals.
Third-seeded St. Francis remembered last year’s loss to No. 15 seed Waubonsie Valley which prematurely ended the Spartans’ season, and No. 6 Glenbard East was trying to avenge its loss to Metea Valley in a regional semifinal 12 months ago.
Both teams got their measure of revenge in eerily similar fashion.
Greg Churney and Jeff Jendryk each had nine kills and Robert Smith added 21 assists as St. Francis turned back Hinsdale Central 25-21, 25-18, and 6-2 junior middle Adam Eboli set the tone for Glenbard East with five kills and five blocks in the Rams’ 25-17, 25-19 win over Metea Valley.
St. Francis (30-6) and Glenbard East (24-12) will meet for the regional title at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
St. Francis led 14-13 in Game 1 before Jendryk recorded his first kill. But Churney strung together three successive kills to give the Spartans the lead for good at 7-5.
“I didn’t want to lose,” Churney said. “We didn’t want to happen this year what happened last year.”
St. Francis coach Mike Lynch was apprehensive of Hinsdale Central (23-13), which took Lyons to three games nine days before the Lions defeated St. Francis in three sets.
“I told the guys it was going to be same type of game,” Lynch said. “Hinsdale Central is not your typical regional opener.”
Kills by Joseph Denny and Jendryk ended Game 1 after Hinsdale Central got within 23-21 on a kill by Jake Regnery (seven kills), and a 3-0 run late in Game 2 allowed the Spartans to extend a slim 19-16 advantage.
Kian Peterson had 20 assists and Cam Harvey added six kills for the Red Devils.
In the second semifinal, last year’s regional loss to Metea Valley fueled Glenbard East.
“All that energy kept us going,” Eboli said. “We wanted to come out and show them who Glenbard East really is.”
Glenbard East used a 11-4 run midway through Game 1 to stretch an 11-9 lead, then built a 20-13 lead in Game 2 with a 7-2 spree.
Sterling Glover and Jamie Wareham both had five kills and a block for the Rams, who also got 14 assists and three kills from Cory Soehren. Junior Tom Wieland led Metea Valley (23-13) with 11 kills and Andrew Miller added 21 assists.
“Give credit to them,” Metea Valley coach John Aister said. “They put up a big block, we challenged it and lost. They played some great defense. Whether they were blocking or digging, they got a lot of touches on a lot of balls. They made one more play then we did almost every time.”