On senior night at Rolling Meadows on Tuesday, the Mustangs made a lasting memory.
A 25-10, 25-23 victory over Wheeling combined with a Hersey victory against host Prospect helped coach Tim Piatek's team wrap up an outright Mid-Suburban League boys volleyball divisional title for the first time 1995.
Against the Wildcats, the Rolling Meadows seniors took center stage. Tim Ellis had a team-best 8 kills, and Tom Srnak and Matt Kuzniar had 6 each. David Sobkowicz and Ellis had 2 blocks each, Brett Frey was 52-of-54 setting with 27 assists and Peter Nickle had a team-best 9 digs.
Rolling Meadows (21-6, 8-2) awaits the MSL West champion, either Palatine or Barrington, in next week's league championship matchup. Palatine hosts Barrington at 6 p.m. Thursday.
Zack Nauert led Wheeling's attack with 10 kills, Jacob Del Toro had 12 digs and Jack ANderson had 2 blocks while Eric Ruttenberg was 33-for-35 setting with 15 assists.
St. Viator d. Marist: The seven seniors on the St. Viator boys volleyball team celebrated senior night in style Tuesday in Arlington Heights.
Led by an impressive performance by outside hitter Ben Wolf, the Lions scored an important East Suburban Catholic Conference win over Marian Catholic.
Wolf swatted 11 kills, recorded 5 aces and had 8 digs as Viator prevailed 25-14, 25-11 to improve to 5-1 in the ESCC and 21-6 overall.
"This season has gone by so fast," said Wolf, who added that the Lions' stellar 2013 campaign has been no surprise as far as he and his teammates are concerned.
"We've been working so hard this year," said Wolf. "We wanted to become a force to be reckoned with and I think we've done that."
Classmate Andrew Underys, who is headed to Saint Louis University in the fall to study aerospace engineering, commented on how experience and continuity have played a factor in the Lions' success.
"A lot of us have been playing club volleyball," said Underys, "and I think that's integral to having success in the high school season."
St. Viator shook off a slow start in the first set against visiting Marian but took control after a couple of spikes in the middle by senior Austin Ziakas (6 kills) turned the tide.
The second set was highlighted by consecutive service aces from Wolf, an athletic diving dig by senior setter Brennan Harrington (27 assists) and the hitting of senior opposite Ryan Lavelle (12-of-14, 5 kills).
"I'm extremely proud of this group of seniors," said St. Viator coach Chris Boylan. "Most of them have been in the program four years, and to see how far they've come is incredible. It's been a huge transformation and it's all due to the work they've put in, during the season and in the offseason."
Senior libero Anthony Giovenco (11 digs) and classmate Nick Frank, a middle hitter (4 kills), excelled in the victory.
"We set goals coming into the season," said Wolf. "One was to win conference and another was to finish the year with less than 10 losses."
With their 21-6 record and only 3 regular season matches remaining, the Lions have already achieved one of those objectives. The other is still within reach as Viator plays ESCC leader Benet on Thursday with a chance to tie for the division lead.
"We want to leave a legacy," said Underys. "I remember four years ago when I started playing high school volleyball -- it was fun, but we lost a lot of games.
"I think the most important thing that's happened is that we've changed the mentality here and it would be great to put another (conference championship) sticker up on the board. That would be pretty cool."
Coach Boylan agrees, but also puts it in perspective.
"We still," said Boylan, "have work to do."
-- Bill Esbrook
Hersey d. Prospect: The visiting Huskies produced a strong effort to eliminate the Knights from MSL East championship contention 25-22, 25-16.
Bart Migus (8 kills), Kevin Schroeder (7) and Mike Fuerst (5) led the Hersey attack. Matt Torvik provided 23 assists and 3 aces, Fotis Christacos had 10 digs and Drew Snelson was 10-of-10 serving for the Huskies.
Prospect (15-15, 6-3) got 7 kills from Grant Andler, 13 assists from Jacob Schwister and 4 block kills from Alex Goneh.
Barrington d. Conant: The Broncos kept rolling through their MSL West competition, claiming a 25-15, 25-8 triumph over Conant. Kevin Eiring led the Broncos with 7 kills, Evan Lee had 6 and Anthony Guagliardo had 4 along with a team-best 4 blocks while Noah Richetti had 15 assist and Matt Garcia served 3 aces.
Patryk Openchowski led Conant (1-30, 0-9) with 4 kills and JT Levitt had 6 assists.
Palatine d. Schaumburg: The Pirates kept alive the chance at a tie for the division lead by topping the Saxons 25-15, 25-18. Kyle Obernesser provided 20 setting assists and Christian Frahm came up with 20 digs for Palatine.
Buffalo Grove d. Elk Grove: Evan Bunnetto had a match-best 15 kills and Kevin Shanahan (17 assists) and Chris Szewczyk (16 assists) orchestrated a 25-22, 25-22 decision in favor Buffalo Grove. Mike Maley led the way for the Bison (16-16, 6-4) with 11 digs, and Nikita Bulauski had 9 kills and a team-best 7 blocks.
Top contributors for Elk Grove (15-13, 3-6) included Ray Kraus (15 assists), Kevin Wickstrom (6 kills) and Matt McKenna (6 digs).
Fremd d. Hoffman Estates: A balanced attack from Eric Scott (8 kills), Aaron Kent (7) and Venkat Ganne (6) helped Fremd to a 29-27, 25-18 victory over Hoffman Estates.
Nico Colletier served 3 aces and had 10 digs for the Vikings (12-15, 5-5).
Matt Stacy delivered 7 kills for Hoffman Estates, and Stacy and Ryan Seong had 10 assists apiece.