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MUHS nips Spartans, 3-2, in state volleyball semifinals

East rallies twice, only to just fall short in finale

Nov. 16, 2013

The youthful Brookfield East boys volleyball team battled back twice, but then just fell short in a wild fifth set and dropped a 3-2 decision to Marquette on Saturday afternoon at the WIAA State Tournament at Wisconsin Lutheran College.

Marquette (23-2) won the first set (25-17), but the Spartans came back to even the score at 1-1 with a second set win (25-23). The Hilltoppers then won the third set (25-20), only to see East rally to even it up at 2-2 (26-24).

Finally, in set five, each team kept fighting off match-point before Marquette finally won, 23-21.

"Whatever you do in life, all you can control is your effort and what you do," East coach Tim Owen said. "I thought our guys put their best shot out there. And if you get beat, you can live with that. I don’t think there were many game fives in state history that went to 23-21."

In a wild finale, Marquette had match-point five times before finally winning the set. The Spartans had match point twice, but couldn't but the Hilltoppers away.

Marquette senior Joe Coplan had three huge kills down the stretch, while East junior Graydon Schroeder matched him kill for kill.

Coplan finished with 22 kills while senior Quin Rowen added 16, senior Nathan Anonuevo added 8 digs and senior Will Cotter had 55 assists to lead MUHS.

East's Schroeder had 14 kills, junior Matt Klassen added 13, junior Mark Abuls 10 and sophomore Matt Szews had nine. Abuls had 8 digs, freshman Nick Watry had 23 assists and junior Jared Wilgus had 22.

Set 1: MUHS led 17-13 and then went on an 8-4 run to put the set away as Coplan had some key kills in the final stretch.

Set 2: East started fast, lead 5-0, as Marquette coach Eric Sullivan called time out when it was 4-0. Marquette then went on a 6-2 run to take an 8-6 advantage. The teams exchanged points for a while, before the Hilltoppers took a 23-21 lead and it looked like it was going to be a short night for the Spartans. But East scored four straight points to win the set and even it at 1-1.

Set 3: This was the most lop-sided match as MUHS took a 17-10 lead, East rallied to within 24-20, but then Coplan killed a shot and the Hilltoppers took a 2-1 lead.

Set 4: The Spartans, with their backs to the wall, trailed 13-10 when they went on a 7-2 run to take a 17-15 lead. Both teams then gave a preview of what was to come, as the score was tied at 17-17, 18-18, 19-19, 20-20, 21-21, 22-22,  23-23 and 24-24, as neither team could put pull away. Finally Szews and Abuls killed shots back-to-back and East tied the match at 2-2.

"In the last game (set 5) down the stretch, it wasn’t that people were making errors, there was some good volleyball," Owen said. "In the end, they made one more play. That’s the way volleyball works sometimes. The ball is six inches farther, one way it’s out. Six inches farther another way, its in. All you can do is put your best shot out there and I thought we did.

"And we got beat. But we got beat by a good team. If you give it your best, you can always live with the result no matter what it is and I couldn’t be prouder of those guys. It’s a special group."

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