The Southern Regional High School boys volleyball team was without junior Mike Gesicki, one of the state’s best middle blockers.
Not that it mattered.
The Rams bested Christian Brothers Academy, 2-0, in non-divisional action Wednesday.
Gesicki sat out the match in street clothes because of a sore right shoulder. He also missed the Rams’ championship in the Hillsborough Raider Invitational on Saturday and their win over Central Regional on Tuesday.
“My rotator cuff is out of place a little bit,” Gesicki said. “I am working on strengthening it with physical therapy. I will be back on the court soon. When it feels better, I will be back. There is no timetable on my return. The team has done fine without me. It’s still early. You don’t win state championships in April. I will be ready to go when the team needs me.”
The Rams did not miss a beat, a block or a kill without the 6-foot-6, 220-pounder. Senior middle blocker Adriel Dunwoody (three kills, four blocks) and sophomore middle blocker-outside hitter Jake Logue (two blocks, two kills) made up for Gesicki’s absence.
“They were phenomenal,” Gesicki said. “They did very well because they practice hard each day.”
“Volleyball is a team game,” Southern coach Eric Maxwell said. “Everyone is about the team. That’s what enabled us to respond. The boys play for each other. They play together. Our kids relished this opportunity today and Saturday. We were without our big guy, but it was great to see what we can do when we don’t have him.
“Before the match, we talked about what we have to do with the guys we have on the court. We said it’s about the fundamentals–passing well, blocking well and playing defense. That will keep you in the game.”
The Rams (6-0) won the first game, 25-12, and captured the second, 25-22. The winners closed the first game with one of their traditional Southern Regional runs, burying the Colts (3-1) under an 18-5 avalanche. Dunwoody ignited the assault with a kill, snapping a 7-7 tie.
“The great thing about runs is I stay out of the way,” Maxwell said with a smile. “Our boys know the game inside out. Let momentum carry us for a while. There is no need to throw stuff at the boys to make it more complicated.”
Senior outside hitter Brandon Lee put the Rams ahead to stay, 12-11, in the second game with one of his eight kills.
“We’re great communicators,” Lee said, “and we played real well together as a team. We missed Mike, but we showed we can do well without him. He is a very important part of our team, though, as he gets us blocks and kills.”
“They play a different game without Gesicki,” CBA coach Monica Slattery said. “We knew they had big guns on the outside. We tried to get good blocks on them.”