Southern Regional Wins Shore Conference Boys Volleyball Tournament

May 24, 2017

The Southern Regional High School boys volleyball team quickly regrouped after the only loss of its 2017 season in the Super Six Showcase on May 13. The Rams swept through the Shore Conference Tournament like a tidal wave last week.

After a first-round bye, thanks to their top seeding, they easily dismissed Wall, the eighth-seed, 25-20, 25-15 on Wednesday. Then, on Friday at Georgian Court University, the predetermined site of the tourney’s semifinal and championship matches, Southern had an even easier time against fourth-seeded Lacey, winning 25-16, 25-13, before solidly beating the second-seed Christian Brothers, 25-18, 25-17.

Junior middle Shane Bent did most of the damage against Wall, racking up 10 kills. Outside hitter Zach Hem, a 10th-grader, added six kills. Senior right side Collin Lockwood contributed a dozen service points including four aces while his classmate, setter Brennan Davis, had 23 assists. Sophomore libero Matt Maxwell was, as usual, the defensive star with 14 digs.

Bent, again, was the top scorer in Southern’s match against Lacey, recording six kills. But the scoring was much more balanced this time around – Lockwood had five kills, as did senior right side Jay Boehler, while Hem had four. Davis assisted 21 times and Maxwell had 14 digs once again while yet another Ram, junior defensive specialist Matt Jones, was the hot player at the serving line with 13 service points.

Southern had an even more balanced effort against CBA in the title match. Sure, Davis had 22 assists and Maxwell 15 digs. But the scoring was once again spread out, with Bent, senior middle Shane Drayton, Hem and Lockwood respectively putting seven, six, five and four kills in the record books. Service points were also a team effort, with Lockwood leading the way with six, Jones and junior Issiah Gaines each adding five, Davis totaling four and junior Sam Iacoves contributing three.

With the Shore Conference Tournament out of the way, Southern can now concentrate on its season-long goal – winning its sixth state title.

The top-seeded Rams will open their state championship defense on Thursday, May 25, against the winner of Tuesday’s first-round match between Cinnaminson, seeded eighth, and Washington Township, seeded ninth. If Southern prevails, the Rams will have to wait until Wednesday, May 31, to host a third-round match owing to the pesky Memorial Day weekend. If the Rams, as expected, win once again, they would play in the South Jersey championship match on Friday, June 2. All of the Rams’ South Jersey Tournament contests will be played in the friendly confines of the Southern Regional 11-12 gym.

The state semifinals will be played on June 6, and the championship match is set for June 8. All will be played at South Brunswick High School. —R.M.

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