During the midst of a Wauwatosa West run in the first set, the packed Wauwatosa East student section began to chant that they weren't worried.
As it turns out, they should have been.
The Trojans didn't let up in a four-set victory (25-20, 24-26, 25-19, 25-17) win over the seventh-ranked Red Raiders on Sept. 22.
"It was a well-rounded effort by the whole team," Wauwatosa West coach Kyle Sikora said. "It was nice to see the guys step up and come out in this big game.
"We started doing this four or five years ago to try to get a nonconference match in because we always see each other in regionals and sectionals. This is a big win for us. Hopefully, we can get a higher seed now."
With the first set tied at 9-9, West rattled off seven straight points to lead 16-9. A kill by East senior outside hitter Aaron Plaisted and a block by junior middle Ben Miller pulled the Red Raiders to within 17-16.
The Trojans responded with a 5-0 spurt to regain control of the set, as an ace by sophomore outside hitter Zach Schumacher made it 22-16. Consecutive kills by senior outside hitter Tyler Schackmuth allowed West to win the set, 25-20, when East served into the net.
West led, 24-23, in the second set. But instead of falling down 0-2 in the match, East got a kill from Plaisted to fight off set point. Miller followed with a kill and a block to give the Red Raiders a 26-24 win.
Instead of letting the second set linger, West came out firing again in the third.
"We knew we let them back in that second game by us making mistakes," Sikora said. "We knew if we controlled and limited our mistakes and put the balls away when it came to our turn that we would come out successful."
A 7-2 spurt gave the Trojans a 20-15 lead on a kill by senior outside hitter John Frank. A kill by East's Charlie Hutson made it 22-19, but a kill by Ronnie Haynes got West back on track, and the Trojans closed out the match with a 25-19 win.
"We gave away so many points it was ridiculous," Wauwatosa East coach John Simon said. "Errors serving, errors hitting, errors passing, errors at the net, I mean, we have to be better than that. We didn't perform. They played better than us, and they won. It was a very simple equation. We had enough errors to give them a game or two at least."
Senior Tyrone Powell led the Trojans in kills with seven. Junior setter Danny Belknapp had 32 assists, senior Alou Dillon had three blocks, Frank had 13 digs and Schumacher served seven aces.
"Our defense was critical," Sikora said. "It kept us in the game all night. We had real scrappy defense. Johnny Frank in the back row, Nick Price, Tyler (Schackmuth), all played tremendous defense and picked up a lot of tips that were being thrown over the net. We had a big block in the front row with Tyrone and Alou. Zach Schumacher had a lot of back row hits."
Wauwatosa East opened the season ranked No. 2 in the state but has struggled with consistency.
Plaisted had 15 kills for the Red Raiders, while Miller blocked eight shots. Senior setter Joe Marx had 20 assists, and senior libero Blake Kratzer had seven digs.
"It is a pretty low point right now," Simon said. "We know that we are better than what we have shown, but we can't continue to give away points and give away matches. We have to decide what direction we are going to be going, hit the grindstone in practice and correct the things that are making us not as good as what we would like to be."
While earning a victory over the Red Raiders in the regular season is significant, Sikora knows there's a high likelihood his team could see its rivals again in the postseason.
"In the past, this match means nothing (when it comes to the playoffs)," Sikora said. "When we play them again, it is going to be the same intense match the East versus West game always is. It always goes four or five every time we play."