CREVE COEUR • Seckman boys volleyball coach Tim Zambo is calm, cool and collected for the most part. But. …
“Whenever he starts raising his voice, he starts to get a little crazy,” Seckman junior Zack Pelker said.
With the Jaguars down by four points fairly late in Game 1 against Parkway North on Wednesday, Zambo became that guy. He called a timeout and told his Seckman team he wasn’t, um, happy with the effort.
They responded the way Zambo hoped they would. The Jaguars dominated the rest of the match en route to a 25-18, 25-13 sweep of the Vikings in a Suburban South Conference battle.
The Jaguars won their third straight match, improving to 9-11 and 3-3 in league play. The struggling Vikings, who have won just one match in their last 17, fell to 4-18-1 and 1-6.
“At that point, it was just kind of like we were going through the motions,” Zambo said of the Jaguars’ play at the start of Game 1 when they fell behind 18-14. “We were dead. Everybody just had a blank expression on their face.”
Once Zambo called them out, they were focused. After that timeout, they outscored Parkway North 11-1 the rest of the way, winning the first game decisively.
“I said, ‘you guys can let them keep playing with you and take the match or we can turn it around right now, smile and stop feeling sorry for yourself and come out and play ball,’ “ Zambo recalled. “From that point, I don’t know what it was, but we should bottle it up and keep it for the rest of the year.”
Pelker and Ben Ingenthron got back-to-back kills to jumpstart the Jaguars. Once challenged, the Vikings lost the confidence they had shown earlier in the game and made a flurry of unforced errors.
“They got in their own heads a little bit and it affected everything they did,” Parkway North coach Joel May said of the Vikings. “Hitting, serving, setting. ... We had a fantastic practice yesterday. They looked great. Today they came out and I don’t know what happened. They just freaked out.”
In Game 2, the Jaguars kept the heat on the Vikings. They sprinted to a 13-5 lead helped by a string of solid serves from Josh Thomas and some impressive blocks, particularly from Nate Richardson.
“We kind of just kept rallying,” Zambo said. “Our defense played really well. We blocked probably the best we’ve blocked in a couple of matches now.”
The Jaguars were able to maintain that lead and later expanded on it to finish off the Vikings.
Richardson led Seckman with six blocks, including two solos. Thomas, Greg Woodward and Ricky Harris combined for 20 digs, and Mike Vitale and Pelker had nine and seven assists, respectively.
Seckman lost the 6-foot-9 Ingenthron to a sprained ankle in Game 1. Adam Bills (three kills) and Jacob Sheets made some solid plays to take up the slack.
“One of our goals at the beginning of the year was to finish above .500 in conference,” Zambo said. “This puts us right at .500, and we’ve got Parkway West tomorrow. So we’re trying hopefully to achieve one of our goals.”
Sam Kempf (four kills) and Kevin Graeler (13 assists) stood out for Parkway North.
The Vikings were 3-3 after their first six matches, including a win over Seckman. However, they've struggled ever since.
“I think it’s mainly just attitude,” May said. “A little bit of a lack of leadership on the team. That’s been killing us. It’s been hurting us in practice and in the matches. We have a lot of potential, but not the leadership we need.”