Greyhound boys win third Woodland volleyball crown by winning first-ever tourney

WIAA sectional next for Shorewood

Oct. 23, 2012

Shorewood - There's nothing like winning the first of something new.

And that's what the Shorewood boys volleyball team, winner of the last two Woodland Conference dual meet titles did on Oct. 17, when it won the Woodland's inaugural league tournament.

Even if it was a bit confusing.

"We chose to hold a tournament as opposed to a 'home-and-home' conference season," coach Kevin Gemignani said. "So, we played each conference foe once to determine a conference champion. The results of the conference tournament had no bearing on the regular season results."

"For the season we were tied with Pius XI with a 5-1 conference record. We beat them head-to-head, so I believe that makes us regular season champions. We do not have a tiebreaker in our conference bylaws. Or, unofficially, winning the conference tournament answers the tiebreaker question."

It was not at all confusing to team libero and co-captain Sean Kelley.

"It's the third year in a row we won or tied for conference," he said. "To win the first tournament is great. A great day and we played well all day long. A really nice accomplishment for the team. …. Our season ended badly last year and we wanted to build on that this time around."

The Greyhounds hope to build on in the WIAA tournament. They're the second seed in the WIAA Whitefish Bay sectional. They earned a first-round bye and host the winner of Pius XI and Greenfield/Whitnall in a sectional semifinal on Oct. 30.

The winner of that will likely play top-seeded and defending state champion Marquette in the sectional final at Bay on Nov. 1.

"We've lost to them twice already (Marquette)," Kelley said, "but that has not put a damper on our expectations (of earning a state tournament berth)."

The grit Shorewood showed in the Woodland should reinforce that thought.

The Greyhounds were the top seed in the Woodland and opened with a 25-19, 25-17 semifinal win over Wauwatosa West that was highlighted by great defense at the net from middle blockers Jack Knutson and Brendan Morris and opposite side hitter Anthony Brewer.

Karl Apfelbach had 11 kills while Andrew Mueller had nine kills, two aces, two blocks and 10 digs. Tim Perry contributed 23 assists.

The Greyhounds were then very impressive in downing Pius XI 25-17, 25-14 in the championship match.

Gemignani called it a "dominant performance" as Apfelbach and Mueller continued to lead the offense with 12 and 11 kills each while Kelley was praised for his defensive work and his leadership and Perry had 32 assists.

"Excellent floor defense in both matches, at the net and on the floor," Gemignani said. "Our block was very strong in both matches, which allowed Mueller, Kelley and Apfelbach the opportunity to make a number of defensive plays. Created some excellent opportunities in transition. To hold two opponents under 20 points in four straight sets shows how this team played - very efficient and in control all night.

"This team played with a strong sense of purpose."

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