The boys volleyball season offically ended with the 2011 USAV Junior National Championships last week in Minneapolis, Minn. But can another club season be far behind?
Here is a look at twho could be dominating the Illinois high school volleyball scene come next spring.
1. Wheaton Warrenville South – The Tigers return five of their top eight players from last year’s 35-3 team – 6-foot-7 Thomas Jaeschke, 6-5 Matt Nussbaum, 6-7 Matt Callaway, 6-6 Tim Zyburt and libero Dan Eastman. Alex Valdez and Kit Bruzek vie to set.
2. Glenbard West – Yes, there will be holes to fill. But outside hitter won’t be one of them. Six-foot-7 junior Ian Lawson amassed more than 400 kills in 2010. Also back are setter Alex Emanuel, DS Mikey O’Dea, MH Scottie Thomas and OH Alex Kahn.
3. Barrington – Libero Austin Czarnecki, 6-8 MH Tommy Leonard, 6-5 OH Jeff Hochstein and athletic setter Taylor Ganzer are back from a team that had trouble closing matches in 2010. Maybe a little experience was all this team needed.
4. Glenbard East – The Rams will challenge WW South in the western suburbs and the DuPage Valley Conference behind 5-9 libero Matt Finder, 5-8 setter Mike Heim, 6-5 sophomore OH Joe Farrell, 6-5 junior MH Tim Shenkin and 6-3 sophomore MH Jake Hamaker.
5. Benet – Bobby Wehrli, a 6-foot-5 outside hitter, was one of the best juniors around in 2010 and should only get better. Junior Luke Ladowski, sophomore Sawyer Yeazel, sophomore setter Pat Dougherty and 6-2 junior Kevin Weithers also return.
6. Vernon Hills – Six-foot-6 Thomas Robinson and 6-5 Martin Niemczewski are a solid one-two punch for the Cougars, but the loss of Justin Opitz’s leadership and setting will be difficult to overcome. Will freshman Ryan Opitz step in for his older brother?
7. Lincoln-Way East – A healthy Nathan Royer and a year of experience for freshman setter Austin Royer bode well for the Griffin’s future. Also back from a sectional semifinalist are libero Jake Tomaras and 6-5 rightside Jason Garnett.
8. Plainfield North – The Tigers lost to Neuqua Valley in the regional final but reurn all but one player. Five-foot-9 Matt Guerreri is one of the best setters around and will look to 6-1 outside Peter Bednarz, 6-2 freshman Doug Aremba and 6-6 sophomore Zack Yost.
9. Glenbrook South – The Titans ran into a red-hot New Trier team in the sectional semifinals, but setter Brian Brennan, 6-8 junior middle blocker Piotr Rafalo and athletic 6-4 junior middle Troy Farsakian are back for another run at the state quarterfinals.
10. Sandburg – The defending state champions will boast two of the best setters around in 6-1 Scott Fifer and 5-10 sophomore Nick Bendell, who split the 2011 season. The only question for coach Sean Airola – who will they set?
Sports Performance 18 Mizuno was the top area finisher at the USAV Boys Junior Championships in Minneapolis last week, finishing fourth in 18 Open after going 8-3 in their division.
Members of the team included Nolan Albrecht (unafilliated), Adam Lepold from Glenbard West, Eric McCarthy from Willowbrook, Matt Nussbaum, David Priest and Michal Stefanski from Wheaton Warrenville South, Zachary Parik and Greg Petty from Downers Grove North, Jonathan Storm of Neuqua Valley and Trace Szczygiel from Lake Park.
Ultimate 18 Gold finished in 11th place at 7-2.
In other divisions, SPVB 17 Mizuno finished fifth and Ultimate 17 Gold was ninth in 17 Open; Ultimate 16 Gold was fifth and Adversity Elite 16 was ninth in 16 Open; and Ultimate 15 Gold was sixth in 15 Open.