Tiller makes his final season at Stevenson a real thriller
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Can you imagine the conversations around the campfire? And let's pare it down to just the elite Eagle Scouts. They could discuss the latest camping and fishing expedition.
And then they might have to listen to Eagle Scout Brad Tiller, he of Stevenson High School. And it wouldn't all be happy news. The conversation could start on a positive note with the senior being named an all-stater in boys volleyball. And how his Stevenson team earned the top seed in the sectional with yet another 30-win season. Eventually he would have to tell his scouting friends how his team's season ended too soon.
"Being named all-state is a big honor for me,'' Tiller said. "But volleyball is a team game. And I would have rather have my team reach its goal."
Tiller was the major hitter in Stevenson's lineup this spring. His 304 kills easily led the Patriots. He added 140 digs. And because of that and more he's the Daily Herald's captain of the Lake County boys volleyball all-area team.
"He is a great teammate and has worked very hard in expanding his game,'' said Stevenson coach Tim Crow. "He is a dynamic hitter who can play multiple positions and can attack from every position on the court."
Mundelein coach George Dressen Jr. observed the hard-hitting outside this season.
"I thought Tiller was a very diverse player,'' Dressen said. "He able to mix up his shots very well and that makes him unique. He threw in a little finesse, as well. I also thought he was a full team player and was very energetic."
This is not a player who started playing this sport from an early age.
"I started playing soccer, baseball and basketball,'' Tiller said. "I didn't start playing volleyball until seventh grade."
By eighth grade, he was falling for this new indoor sport.
"I knew I loved volleyball,'' he said. "But I was still playing basketball my freshman and sophomore years. And club volleyball and basketball was a lot to handle.''
By freshman season at Stevenson, he was hooked. What was not to like? His Freshman A team won all 33 games, but there was still some time for him on the learning curve. Tiller had played middle blocker his freshman year before getting a rude awakening the next season.
"I didn't play at all my sophomore year,'' Tiller said.
The good news came his junior year, when the coaching staff decided to move the slugger outside.
"I played outside for my club,'' he said. "But I needed to work on my defense and serve reception. So I worked very hard and got decent at it."
It's clear that Tiller isn't always thinking about volleyball. He's busy in the classroom as well. His gaudy 4.68 grade-point average gets help from two AP Science classes. And yet there is still time for his scouting duties.
"I really started in kindergarten with Cub Scouts,'' he said. "I really liked it. It was a great experience. We did a lot of camping and backpacking."
Next year will take him to upstate New York. He's off to Cornell University.
"It's beautiful there,'' he said. "The location was great. It's just the right fit for me."
Tiller was disappointed with the Pats' regional loss to Buffalo Grove, but he knows there are bigger things to dwell on.
"We had a great group,'' he said. "We built really strong relationships.
"That's what I will take away from the volleyball team."
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