As Ken Plaisted and Evan Kartheiser lifted for a block Tuesday night, a Brookfield Central spike met the net, prompting a standing ovation, and securing a Greyhounds win and a spot in the sectional finals of the WIAA boys volleyball tournament.
The net shot hurdled Shorewood over the Lancers Tuesday in the sectional semifinal and propelled them to a level in the tournament they haven't seen in five years. Top-seeded Wauwatosa East is the opponent at 7 p.m. Thursday at Brookfield East.
“It’s been a long time,” head coach Kevin Gemignani said. “We’ve had some really good teams the last couple years but we just haven’t been able to get over that semi-sectional hump.
"To put ourselves in a position to play to state, that means a lot, especially with four seniors.”
The Woodland Conference champions swept Central in three games Tuesday, 25-22, 25-15, 25-19, led by seniors Adam Kessenich and Plaisted, and junior hitter Andrew Mueller.
“It was a tough first game, they were giving their all and so were we. We had a couple missed serves, but we came out on top by a few points,” hitter Tom Pech said.
Shorewood dominated Brookfield as it has others in the last few weeks. The Greyhounds won eight of their last nine matches entering the playoffs. That's where you want to be entering the postseason, Gemignani said.
"You always want to be hot in the postseason, and we are playing pretty good right now," he said.
"We are passing and serving really well, we are playing lights-out defense and that's been our game," he said. "With our defense, we give ourselves second and third opportunities to score points and that really makes a difference. I have the best libero in the state in Adam Kessnich. He makes so many first touches that we score points off of."
They still have a tough road ahead of them Gemignani added, with Shorewood set to meet the 21-8 Wauwatosa East Red Raiders in the sectional finals Thursday.
Gemignani said that after losing four starters from last season, he thought it would be a bit of a rebuilding year. But four seniors starting on this year's team played a lot of minutes last year and they just needed to fill in a couple positions with good players.
"We are going to have a tall order on Thursday," he said. "We are good enough, we have the talent, we have the experience ... we are a state tournament-level team."
He stressed that the team is taking it one game at a time and not looking too far ahead into the playoffs.
“Coach says to enjoy this win until midnight because we’ve got the biggest game of our lives coming up,” Plaisted said.