MONMOUTH JCT. — In the postseason, any boys volleyball team has the ability to look dominant on any given day.
On Friday, the dominant team was seventh-seeded South Brunswick, which took the lead early in the first set and never looked back, throttling 10th-seeded Edison 2-0 (25-15, 25-15) to advance to the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament quarterfinals.
The Vikings (6-13, 3-9) will meet second-seeded East Brunswick Tuesday with a berth in the semifinals on the line.
Edison came out as the more aggressive team at the start of Friday’s match, passing well from the back of its formation and finishing hits from all angles, but South Brunswick found its groove when the score was tied 7-7 in the first set.
From there, the Vikings established themselves as the team to beat, eventually opening up leads of 18-11 and 23-14 en route to a 25-15 victory.
Because the two teams didn’t meet in the regular season, South Brunswick head coach Shaun Ruymen wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Edison (6-13, 4-8).
“You never really know what’s going to happen,” Ruymen said. “We haven’t seen these guys at all throughout the season, so you don’t really know what to expect.
“You can look at the records in the division, but it’s hard to find out how we’ll line up. And it’s been a trying season for us, so you never know which team we’re going to have show up on the court. Of course, today we showed up and played a strong game.”
The Vikings received strong performances from Brandon Mariano and Jimmy Quilter, who came up with eight and six kills, respectively. The passing was also crisp throughout the contest as Ryan Wahl recorded 22 assists and libero Jason Wang helped set the pace in the middle of the Vikings’ formation.
In the second set, Rogin Mathew and Emmanuel Fiotakis keeping the Eagles in the mix, but a 7-0 run with Wahl serving for South Brunswick blew open a close set. The Eagles couldn’t recover, with passes not connecting and serves coming at them in ways that couldn’t be returned, as South Brunswick raced to a 25-15 decision.
“We don’t have a ton of size, so we need to take advantage of every opportunity we have on the court,” Ruymen said. “We need to get good serving, passing and blocking, especially swinging from the back row, and we had to stay aggressive, which we did today.”
South Brunswick will now take on East Brunswick, a team that handled them with ease in two regular-season meetings, by a combined score of 100-75.