LOCKPORT — Right off the get-go, the Phillip Hannon to Richard Bishop connection got going on Tuesday night at the Lockport Boys Volleyball Regional. It ultimately led to a 25-18, 25-17 win in two matches over Joliet Catholic Academy and a berth in the title game on Wednesday.
Minooka's No. 11 had 11 kills in the contest, 10 of which were fed from junior server Hannon, but as important the two got in sync early on against the Hillmen.
"He really made some great decisions out there," the senior Bishop said. "He knew right where the open people were and where the other team's blockers were. He put the ball right where it needed to be tonight."
Hannon ended up with 27 assists on the night. As impressively, though, was the fact that it was more that just Bishop's show at the net on Tuesday. Matthew Svetlecich had seven kills and Nick Vertin five kills in the win. Adam Holsteine chipped in with five digs.
"Obviously, I am very, very happy that we won. I think we could a have played a stronger game than we did, but I'm still happy," Minooka coach Janel Grzetich said. "I'm looking forward to (Wednesday)."
Minooka plays Providence Catholic, a 29-27, 25-23 winner over Lincoln-Way West, for the title.
The Indians started out very well on Tuesday in the semifinal contest, though Bishop said that he and some of his teammates showed some postseason nerves in the first game.
"I think we did well. We played well as we have been. We didn't really have any mental errors," he said. "It did look like we had some nerves showing at some points, but we played our game and once we got into the meat of the match, we put them away."
Two of the first four points came off the Hannon to Bishop connection and Bishop had the third point on a free kill. Minooka led 4-1 early on and pretty much stayed right about there leading up to a timeout by JCA with the score 11-6. This coming after Hillmen hitting error and an ace serve by Holstine.
The five point lead stayed on the books with the Indians gradually pushing ahead 18-13 before extending it to seven in the end.
"Some of the boys made some great saves out there," Grzetich said. "The hitters did a good job of placing their hits. There were not too many long tonight and I was pleased to see that."
Joliet Catholic got its one and only lead of the night at 3-2 but the Indians came from behind and took a 12-8, then 16-10 lead with Hannon hitting Bishop and Bishop pelting the ground three times in that stretch.
"These Minooka boys know that they are capable of playing at a higher level," Grzetich said. "It's something they have to do mentally. They have to be mentally ready to finish this. There are quite a few things we need to clean up to win a regional championship and to hopefully go beyond that."
"Our goal is to win the regional," Bishop said. "Our first goal was to win the conference championship, and we did that, and then its to win a regional and a sectional. However, we have to get this done first and then move on."
Minooka is now 33-2 on the season.