Brookfield Central seniors Jeff Thurston and Tanner Swan played key roles in the WIAA Sectional semifinal match at Central and sparked the Lancers to a wild 3-2 victory over cross-town rival Brookfield East.
Central lost the first match, 25-21, as the Spartans rallied from a 15-10 deficit to outscore the Lancers, 15-6 the rest of the way behind the play of Dom D’Amato.
“We’ve been there before,” Swan said when asked about losing the first game. “They’re a strong team but we were able to rally to win.”
Thurston talked about coach Ken Nash’s comments in the huddle.
“He told us to shake the nerves. Just go out and play our game. We weren’t playing good at all. We just had to pick it up.”
Nash talked about his team’s lackluster start.
“We told them to bring more energy,” he said. “The guys were kind of flat. We had a little bit of a lead, but then we got quiet and we weren’t really active. Give East credit, they came back and it changes the dynamic of the game. The guys got tight.”
The Lancers bounced back and played much better, going on a 10-0 run to take an 11-2 lead behind Thurston’s serving. With Swan serving, Central went on a 6-0 run to take an 18-7 lead and East never got closer than seven the rest of the way.
The Lancers then won a thriller, 25-22, but East bounced back with a 25-19 win to take it to a fifth game.
Once again it was first Thurston going on an 8-0 run for a 9-3 lead. And then Swan had a 5-0 run to make it 14-8. Billy Brauer and Nate Leitermann then blocked a shot for the final point and a 15-8 win.
Swan had 16 kills and Brauer 15, Andrew Dusing had 47 assists and Thurston had 23 digs for Central. The Spartans were led by Karlis Abuls (25 kills), Josh Schmirler with 23 assists and Adam Wessel with 14 digs.
Central now hosts Wauwatosa West in the sectional final at 7 p.m. today Nov. 1 with the winner getting a berth in the state tournament next weekend.