EDWARDSVILLE – Junior setter Brock Hennig and junior libero Henry Hupp, along with junior Eric Epenesa, helped lead the way for Edwardsville’s boys' volleyball team as the Tigers won their season opener 25-12, 25-13 Thursday evening at Lucco-Jackson Gym.

The Tigers used an eight-point service streak from Hupp to take the first game, while Epenesa had two different point streaks in both games to help the Tigers gain the sweep of the Crusaders.

“I thought the boys played really well,” said Edwardsville head coach Scott Smith. “I thought Althoff had some surprises for us with some off-speed attacks, but overall, we played really well and limited our errors.”

Epenesa served up six points on a pair of service streaks in the first game, but the Tigers were able to break it open when the game was tied 11-11 as Hupp served up eight straight points, including two service aces. The Tigers then went on to score six of the final seven points to win going away 25-12.

In the second game, it was tied early on after the first six rotations, but Hupp and Hennig helped to break open the game with their play to help the Tigers win the game and the match 25-13.

One of the biggest factors in the match was junior Max Sellers, who had seven kills in the match, six in the opening game, playing in his first match at outside hitter with the regular libero out with injury.

John Matthews led the Tigers with nine service points, including two aces, and in digs with five, while Hennig had 15 assists, and Josh Whittenberg had nine kills, followed by Sellers with his seven.

Overall, Smith was very pleased with his team’s opening effort.

“That’s right, it was exciting, the boys played with a lot of energy,” Smith said, “and I’m happy with their first match of the season. And again, we limited our mistakes.”

The Tigers, now 1-0 for the season, travel to the Joliet West Tournament this weekend, where they’ll play two matches in the group stage of Friday, taking on Joliet Catholic at 4 p.m., then going against Oswego East at 5 p.m. Edwardsville then concludes group play against Aurora Metea Valley Saturday morning at 9 a.m.

Dan Brannan also contributed to this story

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