His setting skills would lead one to believe that Lake Zurich senior Pat Bush was off to play college volleyball somewhere.
What we have in Mr. Bush is a realist. No Division I team offered him a scholarship, so he's moved on to another plan. In the meantime, he's quite content to lead the best Lake Zurich team in recent seasons.
On Monday night, Bush dished out 23 assists in Fox Lake. He also led off the serving for Bears (5-4, 3-0) with eight straight points.
No, the Bears didn't really blow out host Grant. But a pair of 25-18 victories helped the Bears stay unbeaten in NSC play.
"This is the first year that I didn't play club,'' Bush said. "I was too busy applying to colleges and working. So it was too much to handle. I wasn't recruited, and now it's a little late. I still love the game. And I'm enjoying the season."
Instead, Bush may look to play club or play intramurals at Indiana.
On a block kill from Brent Sweetwood, the Lake Zurich lead was 10-2 in set one. However, coach Jon Schapp's club didn't go quietly.
With setter Corey SaLee serving, the Bulldogs (2-12) pulled within 17-12. SaLee delivered a net ace and Mitch Meier delivered a kill.
"We can't give them an 8-0 lead,'' Schapp said. "We are pretty inconsistent right now. Zero of us played club last year. But we still have hung with some decent teams."
Set two was closer. In fact, Grant took a late lead (16-15).
"It was a conference match on a Monday,'' said Lake Zurich coach Lesly Ravenscraft. "We knew Grant was a conference team that wouldn't give up. We knew they would come back at us. Jon (Schapp) has build a nice program here."
The Grant roster lists just four seniors. That leaves 10 juniors. One of those 11th-graders is libero Andrew Fischer, and he wasn't all that pleased with his performance on this night.
"I passed poorly,'' Fischer said. "And I got hit in the face."
In better news, Fischer is known for his unusual serve. It's like he comes from the back of the court and dances to the front before delivering the serve.
"If I didn't do that, I wouldn't get it in,'' he said. "I've done this since last year. I just care about getting it in."
Despite 12 losses, Fischer notes he enjoys being on this team.
"We really get along on the team,'' Fischer said.
In the second 25-18 set, this game was knotted at 17-17. And then Bush went into serve for Lake Zurich. He had plenty of help from Nick Meyer who pounded a pair of kills. Sophomore Andrew Gilbertson added a block kill. And Bush ended the match with a serving ace.
"Last year, we had no seniors,'' Bush said. "We came back with a lot of experience."
Meyer led the Bears' offense with 11 kills. Sweetwood and Jon Gaide both added 6 kills. Bush had 6 digs and Michael Savio added 5 digs.
Meier led Grant with 4 kills. Jason Kaye had 3 blocks and 2 kills. Fischer had 4 digs for the Bulldogs.