Waubonsie Valley surprised by St. Francis in Benet Invite pool play

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Riding high in April, shot down in May.

That’s how the Waubonsie Valley Warriors must have felt Friday in Lisle.

A week removed from their dominant performance at the Palatine Invitational, the Warriors were brought back down to earth by a 25-23, 25-16 loss to St. Francis in pool play of the Benet Invitational.

“I could tell when we got off the bus, we weren’t ready to play,” Waubonsie Valley coach Al Lagger said. “Even when we were warming up, we weren’t ready to play. I think it’s a backlash of last week, winning at Palatine.

“You read your press and think you’re good, but when you’re not good, everybody is ready to play you. I don’t think we matched their (St. Francis’) intensity. The backbreaker was the first set. We were right there hitting the ball back, then we had those two mental mistakes at the end.”

Waubonsie Valley (17-7) led 12-8 in Game 1 before St. Francis rallied to take a 23-21 lead. A block by Joe Napolitano and a kill by Tim Williams got the Warriors even.

But a lift call against Waubonsie Valley and a ball that appeared to bounce off the head of a St. Francis defender and touch a Warrior defender before skirting out of bounds ended the set.

Game 2 was all St. Francis, which raced to a 13-7 lead and never looked back.

“We’ve seen a lot better competition the last two weeks than we have seen the entire season,” St. Francis setter Robert Smith said. “We’ve played some good teams and bad teams, but here it’s good all the way around. There are no bad games.

“We didn’t really come out and play like we wanted to. We definitely did not have energy on our side. But we were able to shake that one off and move on to the next game.”

Smith had 23 assists, Jeff Jendryk added 12 kills and three blocks and Greg Churney had eight kills for St. Francis (22-3).

Michael Simmons led Waubonsie Valley with 11 kills, a block and an ace, Tim Williams had four kills and a block and Jake Linden added 11 assists and two kills.

“These last two weeks we’re playing much better competition,” St. Francis coach Mike Lynch said. “That’s what we need. We don’t have many club kids and we have to ease into it, be in the gym a lot early practicing.

“The way we played at Glenbard East compared to how we’re playing now is night and day.”

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