Warhawks also advance to semifinals with four-set victory - 01

Arrowhead junior middle blocker Ethan Hein swings against the block of Union Grove senior middle hitter Zac Montgomery during a WIAA State Boys Volleyball Tournament quarterfinal Thursday at the Resch Center.

ASHWAUBENON — After the going got tough, Bennet Adams got going.

The stellar senior outside hitter led all players with 19 kills, and Union Grove had no answer for Arrowhead after drawing even through two sets as the No. 2-seeded Warhawks advanced with a 25-18, 20-25, 25-20, 25-16 victory in a WIAA State Boys Volleyball Tournament quarterfinal Thursday morning at the Resch Center.

“I just knew they didn’t really have an answer for me,” Adams said. “We tried to switch it up in the first two sets but I just told my setters after that I knew they couldn’t stop me and if you got me the ball, I’ll get a kill.”

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That proved to be true, as Adams hit an outstanding .467 on the match, putting away 19 of his 30 attacks. The only real road block the Warhawks (33-9) ran into came at the end of the second set when the seventh-seeded Broncos (25-7) closed on a 6-0 run to even things up at a set apiece.

“We really put a stamp on the match that we were here to play and we weren’t going to be pushed around,” Union Grove coach Jamie Anderson said.

Even during the opening set, Arrowhead looked a bit out of sorts as it toyed with spreading the love on offense and the Broncos kept it close until the closing stages. They’d do the Warhawks one better in the second, jumping out to an 11-5 lead, only for Arrowhead to answer and take its first lead of the game at 20-19 on an Adams kill. But out of a timeout, it was all Union Grove.

“We just got in a little rut where we weren’t able to side out,” Arrowhead coach Dennis Mechenich said. “We needed to make sure we were staying with our plan of attack and getting it to the outside and we didn’t really do that in that second set and they were able to run off quite a few points and took it to us.”

From there, it was essentially all Arrowhead.

The favorites took a 9-5 lead in the third, and after a block by senior outside Bennett Wentzel, the Warhawks held a 17-11 edge. An ace from junior setter Ezekiel Jalan (25 assists) finished off the third set.

“Our setters eventually started making some really good decisions and finding (Adams) and he just had an outstanding performance,” Mechenich said. “We’ve been very balanced all year but this morning we just kind of leaned on him because he could put the ball away from anywhere on the court.”

Adams continued to cook in the fourth, and his hitting efficiency kept rising in the process. He put away another set from senior Logan Bularz (27 assists), the only other player on Arrowhead’s roster with previous meaningful state experience, to make it 15-11.

“He did a great job getting the ball real high, being able to elevate over our block, and it wasn’t just being high. He really hit a lot of different spots on the floor, which made it tough for us to kind of figure out where he was going,” Anderson said.

Then junior outside Charlie Andorfer (13 kills) got going, with his kill making it 19-11. Wentzel (10 kills) also bombarded the Broncos, who were never able to threaten again.

Senior outside Ty Geschke, Union Grove’s top weapon, was largely shut down by the Arrowhead defense. The 6--foot-1 attacker was in the red for much of the match, ultimately finishing with 11 kills on a .041 hitting percentage.

“We just kind of focused on him and we knew that they had that one good middle, but they didn’t really have many other weapons, so just focus on him, getting at least two blocks up to slow him down, and that really helped us,” Adams said.

Adams also led the Warhawks with 17 digs. Wentzel and junior middle Ethan Hein finished with 1 1/2 blocks apiece, as Arrowhead will face sixth-seeded Appleton North (29-5) in tonight’s semifinal at 5 p.m. The Lightning upset third-seeded Wauwatosa East (30-8) in five sets in their quarterfinal bout.

“We lost our right side, (senior Carson Brunnbauer) in the second set, so we had to bring in a different right side, (junior) Ethan Dassow, and he has a huge match for us,” Mechenich said. “So we’re deep and we can battle with anyone. It’s just a matter of us minimizing our mistakes and playing with the confidence that we know we can play with.”