BELLEVILLE — The Belleville East Lancers grabbed the momentum early and wouldn't let go in a crosstown matchup on Tuesday with Belleville West.
Juniors Josiah Bergt and John Mathews led a balanced Lancers attack with eight kills each while Patrick Smith dished out 17 assists as East continued its recent mastery over West with a 25-19, 25-18 win in a Southwestern Conference volleyball match.
Three days after a solid seventh-place finish at the LaFayette (Mo.) Tournament, the Lancers (14-4-2) jumped out to leads of 3-0 and 4-1 and were never seriously threatened as they completed a sweep of the regular season matches with the Maroons.
The Lancers performance comes after a rough stretch a week ago in which East didn't play well in a match against Edwardsville which included a loss of 25-8 in one game.
"They (Edwardsville) played great and we made a lot of errors. You're not going to win games like especially against a good team," Lancers coach Stefanie Gaubatz said. "But we played well this weekend at LaFayette and I thought we played well tonight. We've bounced back from a tough week. We passed the ball well. It was a good effort."
West (11-8) trailed only 14-11 in game one following a kill by junior Trevor Juenger but when Lancers junior Taylor Quinley recorded one of his seven kills, East broke it open.
Smith increased the lead to 20-11 with a five-point service run which included kills by Bergt and Austin Cox.
West also made three hitting errors during the run.
Later freshman Nicholas Stevenson got West to within 23-18 with five straight service points, but Bergt put game one away with his fourth kill of the night.
West, which got 10 kills from junior Cade Dibadj and seven from Juenger, seemed out of sync all night.
"I thought Cade played well and I thought Trevor (Juenger) played well. But overall we were flat,'' Maroons coach Austin Betz said. "I have no explanation for it. You would think that playing a city rival we would play with some energy but there just wasn't much tonight. They (East) jumped on us quick in both games and we didn't respond. If we would have been able to get a quick lead, it may have been a different story.''
It was more of the same in game two as three-point service runs by Bergt and Quinley keyed a 12-6 start for East.
West closed the gap to 12-8 on a tip by Cody Hobbs and a block Devyn Tammons, but to straight kills by the Lancers John Mathews and a tip by Quinley increased the lead back to seven points.
West would get no closer then five points the rest of the night.
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at 239-2661 or email@example.com