||Search Results||Watch Live||Buy Photos||Sign up||School Finder|
The top two seeds at the 24-team Brother Rice Smack Attack weren’t very hospitable to a pair of the field’s out-of-state entrants.
After topping Plainfield East, No. 1 Lincoln-Way North took out Spanish River from Boca Raton, Fla., 25-9, 25-13 to advance to the Gold Division.
North’s dynamic duo of Jake Walenga and Brad McFarland took turns hitting bombs at the net. McFarland finished with nine kills and Walenga had six kills and three-straight second-set aces.
“That’s by far the best team we’ve seen all year,” Spanish River coach Karen Adams said. “It’s awesome to play against a team of that caliber. A lot of teams we see don’t have multiple attack options on the floor at all times.”
Middle hitter Kenny Christensen and sophomore outside Ethan Klosak got in on the fun for North (17-1), as both contributed five kills against Spanish River (12-8).
“Our team camaraderie is really good right now and I feel like that’s a really big asset for us,” Christensen said. “But we still have a lot of work to do and a long way to go to prove ourselves.”
Despite being the returning state runner-up and a serious power the last few seasons, North has never finished better than fifth at the Smack Attack.
Meanwhile, No. 2 Brother Rice (16-2) needed three games to get by Chesterton, Ind. Rice trailed 7-5 in Game 3, but turned the tides with a 12-3 run and hung on to win 25-10, 20-25, 25-19 after using most of its roster in Game 2. The Crusaders also beat Mount Carmel, which lost to Chesterton (8-4) in two sets.
Mitch Weiler posted 12 kills, Jim Dwyer distributed 22 assists and Kevin Myren and David Kelly had six kills each against Chesterton.
“We’ve got to pick up our momentum if we want to be the best team in the state,” Dwyer said. “We need to come out loud and obnoxious [Saturday].”
North and Brother Rice will need to win out in order to meet in the championship. Rice topped North in last season’s quarterfinals.
The surprise of Day 1 came via Marist, which topped Warren and Boylan in pool play.
Gold Division matches start 10 a.m. Saturday at Saint Xavier with the championship slated to for 2 p.m.