DOWNERS GROVE – With the ball floating in mid-air toward him, there was only one thing on Mike Schmitt’s mind.
“Get the pass and put it down,” Schmitt said. “Swing deep and let it fly.”
Schmitt’s kill on match point secured Downers Grove South’s win against Lake Park in the championship match of South’s own Mustang Invitational boys volleyball tournament Saturday.
“One of our team goals is to go undefeated at home, so we saw this as an opportunity to continue that,” Schmitt said.
Not only did the Mustangs, who improved to 19-4 overall with a 5-0 run at the tourney, protect their home court, they also claimed their first title at their invite.
“I’ve been a coach in the program for a while, and I don’t think we’ve ever won it,” head coach Kurt Steuer said. “It feels great. Every time we play at home we talk about protecting our home court, and that’s what we did today.”
A Lake Park error late in the third set put South ahead 23-20, but the Lancers scored the next two points on a pair of DGS miscues. Schmitt’s kill made it 24-22, and after another Mustang error, he finished off the tournament run with an emphatic swing for the win.
The Mustangs also started the tournament in fine fashion with a two-set win against Downers Grove North. Schmitt tallied seven kills, Will Tischler added five kills, Tyler Zowaski had 10 digs and Jordan Pawlicki dished out 18 assists and had four aces against the Trojans. South also won a crosstown clash against North earlier in the season.
“I feel like we knew how to match up with them [DGN],” Pawlicki said. “We ran our hitters and got some big kills that kind of got the team going. We fed off the energy of each other.”
The Trojans bounced back from their loss against South with a pool play win against Fenton. They went on to finish the tourney with a 3-2 record and a fifth-place showing in the silver bracket after defeating Willowbrook 25-19, 23-25, 25-21 in their final match.
“We faced the eventual champ in the first round, which was tough,” North head coach Mark Wasik said. “We were so down and out after the served us off the court, but we learned from that match. I think we learned to stay even-keeled no matter who was across the net.”
Wasik said Mike Mierzwa, Liam Reidy and Tom Sarver had strong showings throughout the tournament, during which North improved to 10-9 overall.
Downers Grove South invitational
DGS vs. Downers Grove North: Won 25-12, 25-23
DGS vs. Fenton: Won 25-9, 25-5
DGS vs. Maine South: Won 25-21, 25-21
DGS vs. Loyola: Won 19-25, 25-16, 25- 17
DGS vs. Lake Park: Won 27-25, 22-25, 25-23