Ben Kasun's stock and trade is setting, but, if you press him enough, he might tell you how he gets his biggest thrill on the volleyball court.
"Honestly, I like getting the big spike,'' Kasun said with a mischievous grin. "I'm ready to hit the ball any time. But my first job is to get the ball to other people.''
Typifying the balance and versatility that has been serving the Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School boys volleyball team so well in recent weeks, Kasun piled up 28 assists but finished the match with two of his seven kills as the Marauders returned home for their first date at the Pleasant Valley gymnasium in almost a month to stop Central, 25-10, 25-17, 31-29, in Mid-State League action on Monday night.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Nick Little picks up a point for Bishop Guilfoyle with a spike past Matthew Price.
"We have the chemistry, so we're not going to let it down,'' said senior libero Nate Dorman, who had four of his six service points in the final game and finished the match with 19 digs. "Our biggest strength is our depth. We can go a good two or three guys back, and that helps when we're in a rut. We can get one sub in, change the look and go right back on the offensive.
"It's really comforting, because last year we only probably had one or two strong attacks, but, this year, it gives you the confidence if you get a pass up, someone is getting a good attack on the ball.''
Spearheaded by the play of Nick Little, TJ Jorkasky, Damon Rickens and CJ Fulare, Guilfoyle controlled things around the net, getting 19 more kills than did Central as it raised its record to 5-4 overall and moved to 4-4 in the Mid-State League.
"We're always trying to go for a balanced attack,'' Guilfoyle coach Bob Kasun said. "On any given night, it could be our middles, or it could be our outsides, or it could be our outside. At the outside, Jamey Brumbaugh, Damon Rickens and Nick Nelson are talented and all have the ability to put the ball away. But, tonight, it was the middles' turn.''
Central (0-8, 0-6 MSL) was close to forcing a fourth game, but Guilfoyle erased a 23-19 deficit to tie it at 25 on Ben Kasun's serve and then pulled it out after the teams exchanged the next eight points. Already at a disadvantage, the Scarlet Dragons were playing without starters Chris Brumbaugh and DJ Shaw.
"BG has a pretty good program and a lot of guys that get good offseason play,'' Central coach Mark Steele said. "It's definitely an advantage to have [as many guys as they have], because you can't focus in one guy just to try to harness it.''
Steele needn't feel too badly. During the Marauders' long road trip - it was two days short of a month between home matches because of a quirk in the schedule - the rotation which is almost an equal mix of seniors and sophomores has gelled.
The high point came over the weekend at the Hempfield Tournament when the Marauders stunned Maplewood, the state's fifth-ranked Class AA team, in the quarterfinals. It's the first time Guilfoyle has defeated a state-ranked opponent.
"We were pretty pumped to come back to our home gym and show how we progressed,'' Dorman said. "I think we've maintained the momentum.''
Now, with the benefit of a home-court advantage much of the rest of the regular season, the Marauders will try to keep gathering steam for a big playoff run.
"We have made a lot of strides. We are a lot farther than I ever expected this team would be,'' Ben Kasun, a sophomore, said. "I see us going far in districts and, if we get there, going far in states. We've proven what we can do.''
Match notes: Nelson fronted BG with 10 service points, while Kasun had nine. Little and Jorkasky topped the Marauders in kills with nine and eight, respectively. ... Darrin Thompson had a fine all-around match for the Scarlet Dragons with four service points, four kills, nine digs and three blocks, and Jeremy Aiello recorded 14 assists. ... Guilfoyle also won the JV match in three games. ... The Marauders return to the court on Wednesday for a showdown at Forest Hills. Central's next match is Thursday at DuBois.
CENTRAL: Thompson 4, Bennett 4, Garber 3, Price 3, Aiello 1, Link 1.
BISHOP GUILFOYLE CATHOLIC: Nelson 10, Kasun 8, Kapfhammer 6, Dorman 6, Jorkasky 5, Brumbaugh 4.
CENTRAL: Garber 6, Thompson 4, Price 2, Link 2, Aiello 2.
BISHOP GUILFOYLE CATHOLIC: Little 9, Jorkasky 8, Kasun 7, Rickens 4, Fulare 3, Brumbaugh 2, Nelson 1, Dunning 1.
CENTRAL: Thompson 3, Garber 1.
BISHOP GUILFOYLE CATHOLIC: Brumbaugh 1, Jorkasky 1, Little 1.
Team records: Central (0-8, 0-6 Mid-State League); Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic (5-4; 4-4 Mid-State League)
JV: Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic, 25-19, 16-25, 15-11. Bishop Guilfoyle improved to 4-4, while Central fell to 0-8.