Nothing seems to be stopping the Hilltoppers. After hitting two program milestones Tuesday, the Joliet Catholic boys volleyball team picked up another home victory Wednesday, 25-19, 25-15, over nonconference rival Providence.
“It’s been a great year,” junior outside hitter Blake Reardon said. “Everyone has been doing exactly what our coaches are telling us to do. We’re all finishing and doing our part. It’s been all hard work. We’ve come in before school and put in extra hours. Everything is finally getting in a groove, meshing together and playing perfectly.”
“I told people last year that it was a two-year project for me,” JCA coach Rhyen Staley said. “We knew that we had all but one senior last year, so we were working this year to not only hit the milestone of breaking 30 wins for the first time but beating teams that we have never beaten before.
“We never beat St. Francis. We never played in the finals of the Lincoln-Way East tournament. We never won a tournament. So there are a lot of those fun things that have taken place this year that we can look back on and see they’re the results of all of the efforts of our group.”
But the Celtics didn’t let the Hilltoppers have an easy win.
In the first game, the teams battled. JCA came out with energy, maybe a little too much. Providence had a 4-1 ace-to-service error ratio while JCA had a 0-3 ratio.
Trailing, 19-18, JCA junior middle blocker Ben Gabor swung for a kill. Then it clicked. Senior outside hitter Mitch Gustafson went behind the line and served for the remainder of Game 1, as the Hilltoppers had two blocks and three kills.
“Everyone did really good,” Gabor said. “Everyone worked together, and no one got mad at each other, which is big. We all stayed together as a team and won.”
In Game 2, JCA (31-4, 8-1) was in a similar situation. Down, 12-11, the Hilltoppers called a timeout. Off serve receive, Gabor put down another of his eight kills. Then Gustafson went back to serve again, this time for eight points, making the score 18-12 before the Celtics sided out on a Zack Heller kill.
Published in The Herald-News (Joliet). To read the entire article, click JCA rolls on with victory over Providence