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Bill Milligan photo A shot by Oakville's J.D. Gasparovic pushes past the outstretched hands of Eureka defender Jordan Crist during a recent volleyball match at Oakville Senior High School. The Tigers advanced to the state's Final Four, but lost a close match to Vianney, which eventually won its second straight state championship.

Oakville High volleys to the Final Four, but loses three-game match to Vianney

May 25, 2005 - Years from now, members of the Oakville Senior High boys' volleyball team will look back on the 2005 season and realize just how memorable it was.

The Tigers (23-5) solidified their status as one of the best public school volleyball programs in the state by advancing to last week's Class 4 semifinal against defending state champion Vianney.

It was a seesaw affair. Oakville dropped the first game against Vianney 25-22.

"I think that both teams were trying to get things under control as far as the jitters goes," Oakville head coach Becky Czup-pon told the Call. "We played with aggression in that first match and were just a few points shy."

The Tigers came back in the second game with a 25-23 win.

"We were down 17-10 and came back to win that game with no timeouts left and our backs against the wall," Czuppon said. "We had a huddle and I told them that the season could be over in 10 minutes and just what were they going to do about it."

In the third game, the Tigers battled to a 20-20 tie, but eventually fell 25-23 to the Golden Griffens, who went on to win the state title.

"We went out there and with the last five points to go, we just couldn't put the ball away," Czuppon said. "The game went down to the wire and we just couldn't get it done.

"Obviously at 23-5, we had a good year and I think we gave Vianney a good game," she added. "I think in what would be our last game, our kids brought their 'A' game. We told the boys to walk out of this game with their heads high."

The Tigers graduate six seniors from this season's squad in Jeff Cantoni, Tyler Forthaus, Matt Geyer, Brendan Marks, Casey Noll and Drew Martin.

Czuppon is hoping that the accomplishments that were made with this year's senior class, will be a measuring stick for her teams in the near future.

"You don't get to the Final Four on just raw talent," Czuppon said.

"We've got some younger kids that have some club experience and I think that come next year, we're going to be very competitive," she said.

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