East Brunswick proves tougher in beating Hillsborough

East Brunswick's Danny Leung sets up a teammate Saturday versus Hillsborough. Photo by: Kathy Johnson

East Brunswick’s Danny Leung sets up a teammate Saturday versus Hillsborough. Photo by: Kathy Johnson

EAST BRUNSWICK — A week ago, the Hillsborough High School volleyball team went point for point with perrenial power East Brunswick in the Hillsborough Invitational.

Saturday, though, was a different story. East Brunswick (7-0) dominated from the start, taking both sets (25-20, 25-19) and cruising to a 2-0 victory on their home floor.

“That’s the best EB has ever played on a Saturday, hands down,’’ East Brunswick coach Greg Rutz said. “”I can’t tell you why, but we passed well which led to our offense.

“We have six good hitters; we can spread the ball around, which makes it hard on defenses. As good as Hillsborough is, they seemed pretty flat on a Saturday morning. That wasn’t the Hillsborough we played last week. They’re a much better squad than that.”

Last weekend, the two teams played two pulse-pounding sets in Hillsborough’s gym, with East Brunswick advancing on total score (23-25, 25-19).

But on this Saturday, the Bears didn’t leave much up for debate, using a 7-0 run in the middle of the first set to distance themselves and put the match out of reach. Jon Wong, East Brunswick’s libero, helped key the spurt with his float-serve and the duo of Jack Fredricks and Mike Manne killed multiple shots on the outside of the formation.

“I think our float-serve worked really well; it kept them on their heels and gave our defense a little bit of a break,” Rutz said. “Once the setters start to distribute the ball, it gets easier for hitters when you go up against a single block.”

Joey DeLuca and Sean Nemec kept Hillsborough in the first set, but their defense couldn’t withstand the Bears’ offensive pressure.

“I knew that they put up a nice block and they have a nice offense, so we focused on slowing down their offense with our blocking,” Hillsborough head coach Todd Sudol said. “That was one of the goals today, to make sure that if we were going to put a ball down on their side, we had to make it something tough.”

The second set saw Hillsborough take a few early leads, but again it was Wong keying a 4-0 run to turn the tides for East Brunswick and help put the match away. Hillsborough got as close as one, when the score was 14-13, but couldn’t muster a comeback.

“They’re a great team and we just didn’t play our best today,” Sudol said. “We just got caught up in a bad rotation and struggled with building our own momentum and that was the match.”

Even though they’re now a perfect 7-0 through the season’s first two weeks, Rutz knows that the Bears have a good ways to go if they want to reach their goals for 2013.

“I personally think we have a long way to go on defense,” he said. “They like to play offense, but they don’t enjoy defense, which is understandable. But, we have to continue to fight on defense to fuel our offense. That’s starting to make sense to them, they’re starting to feed off of defense and allow their offense to come to them.”

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