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The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

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Boys volleyball impresses in season opener

Evanston captured momentum over Niles West early in match, never looked back.

Only trailing by two points across the entirety of two sets is a surefire way to open the season strong. 

On Monday evening in Beardsley Gym, boys volleyball came out of the gates firing on all cylinders against Niles West and never looked back in the team’s season opener, defeating the Wolves, 25-17, 25-16 with ease. 

After senior hitter Tyler Tang and junior Kaloyan Mirtchev racked up two kills a piece to open the set, Evanston suddenly found itself blazing out to a 10-2 lead, forcing Niles West to burn a timeout early on. That momentum gave the Kits what they needed to perform at that high of a level for an entire match. 

“Especially in a sport like volleyball, momentum is huge. Anything can change it in a split second,” Tang said.  “Really good teams are able to capitalize on the momentum.” 

The Kits put this on display throughout the first set. Even when Niles West cut the Kits lead down to 13-7, Evanston responded with a 6-3 run that was bolstered by senior Dillon Malow-Williams’ ace, forcing the second and final timeout by the Wolves. Evanston held onto the first set, 25-16.

Tang led the way for the Kits on the night, opening the season in dominant fashion with a team-high nine kills. Next to him was Mirtchev, who finished with six kills, and Malow-Williams, who chipped in six hits and five kills. Tang stressed the importance of the offseason work and the strong team bond that has prepared the Kits for the season.

“Even for early morning open gyms, it was always the same guys in and out, and it really gotta build that bond between each other and build the chemistry,” Tang said. “[For] our team specifically this year– we’ve worked together since freshman year. This team is a culmination of like four years and just getting 1 percent better every [day].”

Evanston started slowly to open up the second set, going down 3-2 and facing their first and only deficit of the game. However, the Kits were clearly unfazed and rallied back as a group in a short manner. Four kills by Tang and two from senior Dillon Barnes highlighted a 10-3 scoring run for Evanston and put the Kits up, 12-6, in the second. Both teams traded points the rest of the way, but Evanston maintained a comfortable lead throughout. Mirtchev put the game to rest with a final kill to cap off an impressive 25-17 second set win and a straight-set victory. 

“Everything that we worked on—talking, covering our defense and swinging high—it all played out on the court today,” Tang said. “I’m really proud of how we played.”

Evanston will hit the road to take on Highland Park tomorrow at 4:30 p.m.

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Owen Chiss, Digital Sports Editor
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