Boys volleyball: Babicz, Barrington top Lake Zurich for 3rd at Vernon Hills
There's no club volleyball on Josh Babicz's schedule.
In fact, the 6-foot-6 Barrington middle hitter doesn't spend much time at all playing volleyball.
That's because Babicz is a football player first. He will be playing that sport next school year as a tight end at North Dakota State.
Babicz plays volleyball for fun, and to work on his jumping, quickness and athleticism for football.
The Broncos are perfectly OK with that. They'll take whatever Babicz gives them on the volleyball court, which is often a lot.
On Saturday afternoon at Vernon Hills, Babicz led Barrington to a third-place finish in the Vernon Hills Invite by rolling up 7 kills in a 25-18, 25-20 sweep of Lake Zurich in the third-place game. And Babicz didn't even play the last half of the second game as the reserves were subbed in liberally.
"Josh is not a year-round kid and all of these other kids on these top teams are year-round kids for volleyball," Barrington coach Rob Ridenour said. "He shows up two months a year and does his thing. That's a nice thing to have."
Babicz was a strong complement to outside hitter Michael O'Toole, who made the all-tournament team for Barrington. Right side Alex Krasowski was Lake Zurich's representative on the all-tournament team and outside hitter Ian Piet of Lincoln-Way East was the most valuable player.
Lincoln-Way East defeated Sandburg in the championship match, 26-24, 25-21.
"The game plan is to get me a lot of touches in the middle. But our outsides are really good and we go to me to open up the outsides," said Babicz, who has been on the varsity for three years and is one of Barrington's most experienced players. "I love playing with these guys. It's a fun time and volleyball helps me stay in shape for football."
O'Toole had 6 kills for Barrington, which went 4-1 in the tournament and is now 5-1 overall. Barrington's only tournament loss was to eventual champion Lincoln-Way East in the semifinals.
The Broncos got off to a strong start against Lake Zurich and was up 18-9 in the first game. They got out to an 11-5 start in the second game.
"I actually liked our whole weekend (in the tournament)," Ridenour said. "Our group has a good, cohesive vibe, and you can tell they really enjoy playing together.
"Even after that really tough loss (to Lincoln-Way East), I think they were ready to go and were confident (against Lake Zurich)."
Lake Zurich got a team-high 5 kills from freshman middle hitter Lukas Pytlak, who was brought up for the tournament. The Bears needed a boost, down two starters for the third-place game.
"I loved playing in this tournament. It was really fun and everyone was very nice," Pytlak said. "I had a great time. We played pretty well. We just needed to make more plays."
Lake Zurich, which went 3-0 in pool play and 3-2 for the tournament, also got 3 kills from Michael Baciu, 12 digs from Daniel Kraversky and 15 assists and 7 digs from setter Jeff Carmody.
Barrington was led in assists by Evan Carroll. He had 13. Stephen Wanca had a team-high 9 digs.
"Barrington is always really good and they're always a really tall team," said Lake Zurich coach Lesly Ravenscraft, whose team is now 4-2 overall. "We struggled with their block and hitting over it.
"But a positive is that we came in first in our pool. And we had a couple (starters) out so we had to have some young kids step up. We did a lot of subbing and got some guys in who don't always get a lot of playing time. It was nice to see them all come together and play."