volleyball

Boys Volleyball: Reavis hands Nazareth first loss of season

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By Steve Millar 
Correspondent

After winning the opening set and taking a big lead in the second one, it seemed like Reavis was set to cruise to a victory over previously unbeaten Nazareth.

When the Roadrunners stormed back to force a third set, though, the Rams had to bear down.

“We just had to forget it because that’s the game of volleyball,” Reavis junior Jacob Nosek said of the second set. “You’re going to mess up a point. You’re going to gain a point. It’s all about your mentality where you need to focus. You mess up, you clear your mind and play the next point. It’s one point out of 25.

“Once I saw the team passing the ball and we got good sets and put the right effort into it, I knew we were going to have the right outcome.”

Nosek came up huge down the stretch and the host Rams pulled through for a 25-19, 22-25, 25-17 win.

Nosek finished with eight kills for Reavis (3-5). Joey Para had seven kills, Matt Swiatek contributed four blocks and four kills, Tom Wasiel had four kills, Adrian Rutkowski chipped in three kills, two blocks and two aces, and Tyler Jones finished with three blocks and two aces while dishing out several assists.

Ben Michel led Nazareth (3-1) with nine kills and two aces. Kyle Pinckney had eight kills, while Caden Hogan chipped in three kills and two blocks, and Mitch Cannon added three kills.

Nosek took over in the third set, coming up with six kills. He had three during a 6-1 surge that stretched the Rams’ lead to 12-6 and had two more during a match-ending 5-0 run.

“We made a good comeback and it was a really big team effort,” Nosek said. “It wasn’t just me. I couldn’t get the correct hits without the team and the hustle we’re throwing in. That’s going to continue throughout the season and hopefully we will get more wins.”

Reavis coach Mike Jebens said Nosek is new to the outside hitter position.

“He’s not a natural outside but he’s stepped up for us this year in a new role,” Jebens said. “He’s still learning, he’s still raw, but he’s definitely picking it up and he’s got the body for it. I’m excited to see his future.”

While the Roadrunners’ powerful hitting combo of Michel and Pinckney gave Reavis problems in the second set, the Rams did a good job limiting them in the third.

Swiatek and Rutkowski led the blocking for Reavis.

“It’s all about timing,” Swiatek said. “We knew who their hitters are and their favorite spots, and then it’s just teamwork and communication to close those gaps and not let them get any spikes in.”

Nazareth trailed 10-5 in the second set before rallying to tie it 10-10 behind a pair of aces from David Valdez.

The Roadrunners then rode Michel and Pinckney, who combined for six kills in the set, to the win to force the third set.

Despite the loss, there were reasons for encouragement for the Roadrunners.

“I like that we’re setting the middle a lot,” said Nazareth assistant coach Matt Madia, who was filling in for head coach Jennifer Milligan. “Kyle (Pinckney) jumps out of the gym. If you put the ball up, he’s going to go get it.

“We need to get a little more consistent. In the last couple points, you could see we’re just in our heads a little bit. You just have to stay calm, take the other team out of system and take advantage of some of those open shots that they give us.”

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