Nicolet boys netters take title at tourney
Host Shorewood finishes fifth; Knights now third in state
Shorewood boys volleyball coach Kevin Gemignani is very proud of his own invitational, something he likes to call the "best little tournament" in the state.
And he may be onto something with that assessment, as the event Saturday featured seven ranked teams in a tight, noisy and competitive atmosphere that provided a breakthrough for the Greyhounds' North Shore area rivals Nicolet, which pulled out a thrilling championship in the event.
Knights now third
With the title, the Knights moved into third in the most recent state poll, behind top-ranked Catholic Memorial and No. 2 Marquette, both of whom they'll see at the Whitefish Bay Invitational on Saturday.
The host Greyhounds, who will also be at Bay on Saturday, took fifth in the event.
Nicolet, led by its extremely tall lineup, pounded out victories against Wauwatosa West (ninth-ranked) and Brookfield Central in pool play before overpowering Westosha Central (seventh-ranked) and Burlington (honorable mention) for the title.
Matt Klingspohn had 34 kills and seven blocks while Christian Griggs-Williams had 31 kills with just four errors. Dan Mulcahy added 22 kills and six blocks. Senior libero Patrick Bieser contributed 25 digs while setter Michael Shklover had 81 assists.
Young players developing
Coach Brad Kuehl wants to see more things done in a consistent fashion, but admits that the team is getting better despite its deep graduation losses. He pointed to the development of Shklover and of Griggs-Williams as keys.
"Christian Griggs-Williams has turned into a basketball player who plays volleyball into a volleyball player," Kuehl said. "He was dominant on Saturday and has been most of the year. He is playing at an all-state level right now and might be the best middle in the state. He might be the missing ingredient that puts us over the top come November."
Meanwhile, the Greyhounds beat Pius XI and lost to Tosa West in the silver division playoffs after beating Appleton North and falling to Burlington in pool play.
Gemignani praised a number of players for their efforts.
"Adam Kessenich had a fantastic day," he said. "RJ Adams continues to run the team with great leadership and focus; he is the hardest worker on a team of hard workers. Nick Yannett continues to carry the load on offense, but our two middles, Evan Kartheiser and Bennett Reed, were very strong throughout the day. Tom Pech gets no time in the spotlight, but he always does the little things."
Fan excitement a key
He was also pleased with how the tournament ran.
"We have a small gym with lots of fans creates a great high school environment," he said. "I am spoiled and blessed by the support I receive every year from the families of my players. These parents take care of the boys and me, so we can focus on playing and improving."
And to show there was no hangover from the tournament for Shorewood, it turned around and beat Tosa West, 22-25, 25-21, 25-22, 17-25, 15-13, in a Woodland dual on Monday that gave them a season sweep of the Trojans.
"It was a thrilling match with both teams playing at a very high level. There were long rallies, lots of digs, great swings on offense, and big blocks," said Gemignani.
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Sports Shorts: May 21
- Homestead has just enough depth to pull away for fifth North Shore tennis title
- Cooperation helped Whitefish Bay softball tourney work despite weather
- Veteran Shorewood netters claim Woodland dual meet crown
- Sports wraps: May 15
- Shorewood thinclads combine for eight firsts in Woodland Outdoor track
- NSC tennis race too close to call as tourney looms this weekend
- A 'true' team effort nets the Homestead girls track squad a title at the Cedarburg True Team Invite
- OUR TAKE
- Sports Shorts: May 7