Downers Grove South's 6-foot-6 outside hitter Shawn Tischler was in the right place at the right time at the end of both games Tuesday against visiting Addison Trail, and he was nowhere near the volleyball net.
Tischler's powerful jump-serve forced Addison Trail to scramble to get the ball back at the end of Game 1, setting up teammate Adam Branch's game-winning kill. He then served out the final 5 points of Game 2 after tying the set with a block.
Downers Grove South (14-12) remained perfect through four West Suburban Gold matches with a 25-23, 25-20 victory over Addison Trail, sending the Blazers to their second league loss in four tries.
Tischler, who is headed to Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut, in the fall to play volleyball, finished with 6 kills, 3 blocks and no aces. But his strong serving was the difference in Tuesday's match nevertheless.
"Going on those runs really helped us," Downers South coach Kurt Steuer said. "Shawn's serve has really come along this season. He's been working on his control and he gets a lot of power behind it. It's tough to ball control. It was nice to see him get in a rhythm out there."
Tischler admitted he was having trouble with his serve earlier in the season, but said his coaches encouraged him to trust his defense.
"Last year my serve was just a little roll shot," he said. "Then I came in this year thinking, 'I'm a senior. I can start hitting it hard.' But I was not serving very well in the beginning. Our coaches told me to just stick to my routine and put the ball in play. It may not be the hardest serve, but it's working."
Senior middle hitter Parker Connolly led the Mustangs with 7 kills and a block, and second middle Riley Dockendorff added 4 kills.
"I don't think there's a better middle combination in the state," Tischler said.
Setters Parker Smith and Joe Gall both had 10 assists for Downers South, which travels to Frankfort this weekend for the perennially tough Lincoln-Way East invite.
"If we keep doing what we're doing, stay focused at practice and keep pushing hard, the sky's the limit for us," Tischler said. Click here to read the full story in the Daily Hereald.