By Phil Brozynski
Lyons’ Andrew Gulik has been around long enough to know that people don’t remember what you do in April. But beating your probable sectional semifinal opponent sure beats the alternative.
Gulik, a 6-foot-5 senior outside hitter who is enjoying his third year on varsity, smashed 15 kills and fellow outside Justas Pagojus added eight kills and two blocks to power the Lions to a 25-18, 25-23 win over Hinsdale Central Tuesday in LaGrange.
“This was a huge step for us,” said Gulik, whose team lost to Hinsdale Central twice in 2007. “It should give us some confidence. Last year when we played them in the sectional, things didn’t go our way. But if we see them again this year, this should help.”
Hinsdale Central (21-4) fell behind midway through game one and could not recover. Three errors, including one of eight service errors in the match by the Red Devils, contributed to a 8-3 run by the Lions.
Lyons (16-3) built a 20-14 lead in game two, but the Red Devils rallied behind a backrow kill from Pat Dodd (six kills) and an ace by Peter Netisingha (15 assists) to pull even at 22. Down 24-23, Hinsdale Central had two chances to pull even again, but could not convert.
A kill by Gulik ended the game and the match and left Hinsdale Central coach Len Serwat to lament his team’s woes at the service line.
“They played better than we did,” he said.”We didn’t play our best and they played very well. We missed too many serves. We played hard, but we didn’t play very sharp. We’re better than we showed.”
Clay Scott added 16 assists for Lyons.
“Except for a few points, I thought we played consistently,” Lyons coach Joann Pyritz said. “I thought our outside hitters did a good job hitting over their shorter blocks. I thought we managed the match well.”
Lyons, whose loss to Deerfield prevented it from competing in the gold division at Downers Grove South last weekend, finds itself in a similar situation this weekend at Lincoln-Way East. This time, the Lions must get past No. 5 Sandburg (20-4) to reach the gold division.
◘ Speaking of the Lincoln-Way East tournament, three of the four four-team pools could provide some fireworks.
Previously-ranked but always dangerous Naperville North and Lake Forest will go head-to-head in Pool A, Lincoln-Way Central and Naperville Central will meet Friday at 5:30 p.m. for the right to advance from Pool B, and Sandburg and Lyons will meet Friday at 5:30 p.m. to emerge from Pool D.
Brother Rice, which had lost three consecutive matches following Monday’s defeat to Oak Park, should get back on track in Pool C against Oak Lawn, Joliet and Maine East.
◘ Headscratcher? Carmel (19-9) had won 11 consecutive matches before going 2-3 at last weekend’s Glenbrook North invitational where it lost to Libertyville, Vernon Hills and host Glenbrook North.
However, Carmel returned to its winning ways Monday with a gutty 20-25, 25-20, 26-24 win over visiting Warren (28-3), which had not lost to an in-state opponent since early in the season against Highland Park.