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  • Writer's picturetgardner1167

Jacks Go In For The Kill

Don’t wait for the opportunity to present itself. Seek it out and seize it before it slips away.

That’s the message coach Luke Hodgson is trying to impress upon his North Tonawanda Lumberjacks boys’ volleyball team. Don’t wait for the other team to make a mistakes, play so hard and so on point that you will take the contest regardless of your opponents efforts.

That’s just what they did.

Brandon Casterline had 14 kills and five blocks as the Lumberjacks swept three straight games from Kenmore West in Niagara Frontier League action that was played at the Alumni-Student Activity Center at North Tonawanda High School on Tuesday night.

“I think it took us longer than it needed to,” Hodgson said. “I think (we) were playing a little too cautious, waiting for Kenmore West to make a mistake. They just have to believe in themselves that they can go full tilt right from the get-go. They have all the weapons and tools in the world. They don’t have to wait for it. They can come right out and do it.”

Winning by scores of 25-22, 25-16 and 25-20 the Jacks improved to 2-0 in league play on the young season. The opening game was a back and forth struggle before Casterline put down the winning point.

Games two and three were a much different story as NT was in charge the entire time-holding leads as big as 22-12 in the third game. The Jacks used a steady series of quick passes, offensive strikes and strong play by the net that kept the Blue Devils (1-1) on their heels. Libero Jake Hooton was the busiest Blue Devil on the floor, with 28 digs, but it simply wasn’t enough as Ken-West was clearly not at its best. Blue Devils new coach Alex Keller, himself a former a Blue Devil Class of 2011, said the Jacks did a very good job of disrupting their game plan.

“This was the first team that we really saw run a lot of different intricate hits to the front row and we were just slow to react to those blocks and they were able to assert their will,” Keller said.

“When we were passing well and we were being aggressive as a team we were keeping the other team on their heels we are very, very tough to beat. But when we’re the team that’s on our heels, and we don’t swing at the ball and we don’t start running an offense it’s really easy to let the games get out of hand.”

Senior setter Jordan Fox said that because the core of the Jacks team has been together so long its allowed them to expand their offensive game plan and throws more advanced plays that opponents might not be expecting from the Jacks.

“This team has been together for a few years now so we figured this was the year to start putting in offenses that were more advanced and more complicated for defenses,” Fox said.

Collin Rambler has 19 digs for North Tonawanda, which plays at Niagara Falls on Friday. The Blue Devils will be at Lockport.

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