High School Sports

Lincoln-Way East ends O’Fallon’s state tournament dreams

Lincoln-Way East juniors Mike Herlihy and Ian Piet combined for eight kills in the first game as the Griffins defeated O’Fallon 25-19, 25-20 on Tuesday in the title match of the Edwardsville boys sectional volleyball tournament.

O’Fallon (27-10-1) opened the first game hot, and after a block and kill by senior Gabe Norsigian and a pair of kills by senior outside hitter Luke Meidel, the Panthers led 7-2.

Lincoln-Way East used a timeout and then scored eight of the next 10 points to take a 10-9 lead, and after a short rally by O’Fallon, took a 14-11 lead to take the momentum.

“I was concerned how we would come out and play early after the long bus ride today. I was right. We were tight early, and it took us a while to really learn what they (O’Fallon) really did with their attack,” Griffins coach Kris Fiore said. “We just had to settle in and play our game.”

After dropping the first game, O’Fallon led just once — 1-0 on a block by Norsigian — in game two as the Griffins jumped out to a 12-5 lead and were never threatened as they move into the IHSA state tournament quarterfinals Friday at Hoffman Estates High School.

Meidel had a team-high 13 kills, eight of which came in the first game. But he and the Panthers struggled in the second game when the Griffins set up their defense to stop the Panthers’ outside hitter.

“The difference was their offense up front. I don’t think we’ve faced a team with so many hitters. We couldn’t stop them all,” O’Fallon coach Katelyn Hagarty said.