By Dan Truttschel~Sports Correspondent
There were times throughout the 2012 campaign that the Westosha Central boys volleyball team was its own worst enemy.
Sometimes those unforced errors didn’t cost the Falcons too badly – but at others, they did – and when they happen in the post-season, the result often puts an end to the year.
And that’s just what happened Oct. 31 in the sectional semifinals.
Central battled back and forth with Southeast Conference rival Racine Case before it dropped a 24-26, 27-25, 25-13, 17-25, 15-13 decision.
The loss ended the Falcons’ campaign at 19-17 overall, while Case’s tournament run ended two nights later against state-bound Burlington.
“The difference (against Case) was the same as it’s been all year long,” Central coach Wayne Schultz said. “It was us making unforced errors.”
After its first-set win, the Falcons looked to be in good shape to take a commanding 2-0 lead, but couldn’t take advantage of five over-passes by Case.
An over pass is when a team sends the ball over the net without attempting a kill – and usually are not recipes for success.
But Schultz said his team converted on just one over-pass, and instead of being ahead 20-12, the Falcons found themselves tied at 16-16.
“We just couldn’t make plays when we needed to make plays, which is not usual for my program,” he said.
Case used the momentum from the second set and rolled through to the easy win in the third, Schultz said.
“They out-played us,” he said. “We gave them the momentum in set two and they handled us fairly easily in set three.”
Central eventually forced a fifth and deciding set, but again the bug of the unforced errors bit it, as the Falcons quickly found themselves down 3-0.
That deficit was just too much to overcome, Schultz said.
“It made it a challenge for us,” he said. “We came back and tied it at 13-13, but once again, we got the over-pass situation we didn’t convert on. That was a big momentum changer.”
Individual statistical leaders for the Falcons included Regan Hess with 21 kills, Brooks Gahart with 48 assists; Glenn Karsten with 22 kills and six blocks; Tim Vanderwerff with 14 digs; and Mike Skora with six kills.
The loss ended the Central careers of Nathan Manning, Caleb Mobile, Dakotah Armbruster, Jake Stetson, Mark LaMeer, Vanderwerff, Hess and Brent Larsen.
“That’s a group, that from the time they were freshmen, I thought they were a special class,” Schultz said. “They were very talented and helped get us to state the last two years. They had a big impact on our program.”
While saying farewell to seniors is tough, Schultz also is confident the future again should look bright for his program.
“We had so many injuries, we ended up being a little younger,” he said. “But that was actually a good thing. My young guys are making me really excited for next year. I can’t wait for next year to get here.”