Kimberly overwhelms young Tritons squad
By JOSH STALOCH
GREEN BAY – The Notre Dame Academy boys’ volleyball team made things interesting against a much more experienced Kimberly squad on Tuesday evening at home in Fox Valley Conference action.
The Tritons took the second set against the hard-hitting Papermakers, but the visitors ended up prevailing, 25-16, 22-25, 25-16, 25-14.
“We’re a new program and our players are still getting used to winning,” said JT Deppe, one of Notre Dame’s coaches. “But there were lots of positives tonight. I thought we had good energy. We’re dealing with an injury right now in the middle, and I thought Quinn Conway, who’s normally a setter, did a good job tonight — he stepped up.”
Kimberly came out aggressive in the opening frame and had the Tritons on their heels until Jacob Van Ooyen got his team fired up by scoring a big kill from the right side of the court.
Van Ooyen did it again from the same spot moments later to pull Notre Dame to within six at 16-10.
The Papermakers wouldn’t let the Tritons get any closer in the first set. However, the home team did manage a couple of sharp back-to-back points late as Eli Bieker scored with a sneaky touch shot to open court, followed by a big kill from John Hackl to make it 24-16 before Kimberly shut the door.
The second set of the evening started out with a flurry of solid play from the Tritons as Hackl picked up where he left off in the first with another kill that proved to be too much for the Kimberly defense. Shortly after, the front line trio of Hackl, Van Ooyen and Emmett Blaney shut down the Papermaker hitters to score on a block to make it 3-0.
Kimberly got back into gear and quickly cut the Tritons’ advantage to a single point at 9-8, but Bieker blasted a kill over the net that the Papermakers couldn’t touch to make it 10-8 in dramatic fashion.
The Notre Dame front line came up big next, blocking shots to take two straight points and push the lead to four at 13-9.
Feeling confident, the Tritons withstood Kimberly’s efforts at a comeback in the second set and finished things off with a Van Ooyen tip to open court to end a long point that was played well by both teams.
An early 2-0 lead for Notre Dame in the third set didn’t hold up for long as the Papermakers scored seven unanswered to take control of things. Van Ooyen’s height and powerful kill got the home team some points, but Kimberly was just too much, rebounding from the second set defeat for an 11-point victory in the third.
The visitors needed that momentum to keep the scrappy Tritons at bay for the fourth and final frame of the evening. Notre Dame battled the Papermakers to a 7-7 tie early on before Kimberly went on a big run to go ahead 18-9 and eventually cruise to victory.
“It was a good step to build on but we’ve got a lot more work to do,” Deppe said of the Tritons’ victory in the second frame and their overall performance against a solid Kimberly team. “They’re doing well for a young group, only two seniors, a couple sophomores, we only have eight guys. So there’s a lot of room to grow but they’re playing better all the time.”
The Tritons will be competing in a tournament at Kenosha Indian Trail High School on Sept. 24.