Richards senior Edvinas Karalius is building quite the reputation in the South Suburban Conference.
The Dominican recruit and returning All-Area performer amplified that status against Lemont, obliterating several balls as Richards thumped the host Indians 25-9, 25-21 Tuesday night in the South Suburban opener.
Karalius finished with nine kills and six aces — his second straight six-ace match following Richards (5-2, 1-0) fifth-place win over Andrew in the 24-team Marist Invitational on Saturday.
“Transferring from club to high school season, I’ve been working on my serve harder and harder,” Karalius said. “Once I get two or three good serves in, I’m pretty confident in myself, so I just go up there and keep ripping them.”
Colton Stermer added five kills and three blocks and Dan Krasich doled out 19 assists and three aces for the Bulldogs.
“(We) were just intimidated at first; played a little scared,” Lemont coach Dina Kyriakoulis said. “It was our first conference match and (our guys) heard about Richards’ big outsides. I think it got to them mentally.”
Duohan Dominik paced Lemont (2-4, 0-1) with seven kills and Kieran Ruane contributed five kills and two blocks.
The Indians struggled with their serve-receive and fell into an 8-1 first-set hole after Karalius smoked a kill and followed with two aces.
“It’s really nice to know I have a go-to-guy that can get the job done almost anytime that I need him to,” Krasich of Karalius. “I try my best to spread our offense so I’m not too predictable — we have plenty of other good hitters — but Ed is a great guy to have.”
Lemont started to find its rhythm in Set 2 and took a 19-18 lead on a kill from Dominik, but the Bulldogs closed on a 7-2 run behind two kills from Karalius and kills from Krasich and Angelo Anagnostopoulos.
“We started figuring it out in the second set, but it was too short, too late,” Kyriakoulis said.
Richards has now triumphed in 37 straight South Suburban matches, having gone 16-0 in each of the previous two seasons.