March 31st, 2016

Tigers roll to sweep of Rocks

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Conor Revell

Staff Writer

Tigers roll to sweep of Rocks
St. X’s 6-foot-5 Peyton Byrne (setting up a shot for a teammate) was a towering presence and finished with five aces / photo by Conor Revell

The St. Xavier and Trinity volleyball teams are quite different.

The Tigers have a wealth of experience, and it showed during Thursday night’s 25-14, 25-22, 25-16 road victory over the young Shamrocks.

“Our strength is definitely ball control and defense,” St. X assistant coach Jeremy Snider said. “We have a great group of guys in the back that work really hard. We were able to execute tonight back there and control the ball.”

Head coach Ward Lotze had to miss the match because of a work trip.

The Tigers (8-1) have played six more matches than Trinity (0-3), but second-year Rocks head coach Richard Weaver wasn’t discouraged despite the loss.

“We’re a young team,” Weaver said. “We only have two true returning starters from last year’s team. Everybody else came up from the JV team and this was their first real experience playing in front of a big crowd. It was different for some of those kids. I told them that this isn’t the end. We have two more months. This is fine, we can fix things. If they show heart like they did tonight, we will be fine.”

With 6-foot-5 senior setter Peyton Byrne towering over the Rocks, the Tigers were able to deliver 36 kills, twice as many as Trinity.

“I have to move the ball around and make sure it gets to the right person,” Byrne said. “I also have the responsibility of picking up a teammate if he gets down or something doesn’t go his way. But tonight I have to give all the credit to my passers. They did a good job of getting me the ball.”

Zack Hendrickson led the Tigers with 13 kills and Adam Schweitzer added eight.

“Me and Peyton have a really good connection,” Hendrickson said. “He does a great job of getting the ball where I want it.”

Byrne finished with five aces and three kills.

“Peyton is our setter and he’s the quarterback of our team,” Snider said. “His height is a lot for a setter and he runs the offense. He has to touch the ball every play. We have to rely on him to get the ball to the right guy in the right decision.”

Matt Hess paced Trinity with four kills and Alex Thorpe had three.

In the first game, St. X roared out to a 12-4 lead and led by as many as 11 points three times. The closest the Shamrocks got after that was 19-12.

After falling behind 18-9 in the second game, the Rocks went on a 12-5 run to cut the lead to 23-21. A Trinity error gave the Tigers a 2-0 advantage.

“We made some defensive adjustments that I haven’t made all season,” Weaver said. “Our libero (Cole Morrissey) moved from middle back to left back. Our blocks weren’t closing, so I decided to move some players so that we could fill those holes.”

The Rocks gave the Tigers a run for their money in the third game, knotting the score four times at the start.

“Coach told us not to let up,” Hendrickson said. “We kind of let up on our passing for a bit. Once we started connecting on our passes again, we were fine.”

St. X iced the game by going on a 9-2 run to build a 16-9 lead it never relinquished.

“We need to buy in,” Weaver said. “There are times when things will start to go against you and we will fall apart. You have to play together. We’re trying to get them to realize we are a team. If you start arguing, you’re going to punch a hole in that ship. We’re looking for everybody to buy into the culture that we’re trying to create and that’s a brotherhood. That’s what Trinity is all about.”

The teams will play each other again at the end of the regular season and likely a third time on May 9 in the state title game

“The season is going great so far,” Byrne said. “We have played well so far and we have a really good unit. We’re hoping to continue to get better and practice hard. Our goal is to bring home another state championship.”


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