Boys volleyball: A Rolling Meadows victory, served in Birmingham's honor

 
By Bill Esbrook
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 4/10/2018 9:33 PM
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  • Barrington's Evan Carroll taps the ball over the net in front of Fremd's Justin Spiekermann during Tuesday's match in Palatine.

      Barrington's Evan Carroll taps the ball over the net in front of Fremd's Justin Spiekermann during Tuesday's match in Palatine. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Fremd's Rocco Stella blocks the ball at the net during Tuesday's home match against Barrington.

      Fremd's Rocco Stella blocks the ball at the net during Tuesday's home match against Barrington. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Barrington's Gabe Hartke leaps for a kill during Tuesday's match against Fremd in Palatine.

      Barrington's Gabe Hartke leaps for a kill during Tuesday's match against Fremd in Palatine. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Fremd's Jacob Peterson, left, and Aaron Peterson block the ball at the net during Tuesday's home match against Barrington.

      Fremd's Jacob Peterson, left, and Aaron Peterson block the ball at the net during Tuesday's home match against Barrington. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Barrington's Gabe Hartke, right, keeps the ball in play in front of Fremd's Jacob Peterson during Tuesday's match in Palatine.

      Barrington's Gabe Hartke, right, keeps the ball in play in front of Fremd's Jacob Peterson during Tuesday's match in Palatine. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

According to Rolling Meadows boys volleyball coach Kevin Bourn, team manager Molly Birmingham is an integral part of the Mustangs' success.

Meadows scored a 25-12, 25-23 Mid-Suburban East home win over Elk Grove on Tuesday night and Bourn said that, as usual, they couldn't have done it without Birmingham.

"She's awesome" said Bourn of Birmingham. "Sometimes we forget how easy we have things. Molly works harder than anybody, and it was great to have her whole family here tonight."

Birmingham, a junior, has MPS (Hurler Syndrome), a disease in which the body is missing or does not have enough of an enzyme needed to break down chains of sugar molecules.

On Tuesday, Meadows held a fundraiser at the game to give an assist to Birmingham's own fundraising efforts.

Despite having to deal with the difficulty of living with the genetic disorder on a daily basis, Birmingham has become a tireless advocate of raising awareness of MPS.

The proceeds collected during the game will be donated to Duke's Children's Hospital in North Carolina (where she has received treatment) and to the MPS Society. Those funds will join the money previously raised during a "Serv-A-Thon" the volleyball team held.

Birmingham will also be selling T-shirts at the school on May 15 to support the cause.

"When I was in eighth grade I started raising toys for Duke's Childrens, and this year I decided I wanted to raise money not only for Duke's but also for the National MPS Society," said Birmingham. "It's my way of giving back.

"I'm loving it," added the junior about her dedication to the volleyball squad. "I've made so many new friends, and I feel like I'm part of the family."

On the court, 5 kills from Billy Tompkins led the Mustangs to the win. Teammate Arthur Barczak had 4 kills, 3 blocks and 5 digs.

Meadows used superior serving to take set 1, as Barczak closed out the game with aces on the final 2 points.

The Mustangs rode some big hitting to rally in set 2, as big kills by Tompkins and Max Schertler late brought the home team back from an early deficit and gave it the lead for good.

"I was very happy with tonight's effort, especially our serving," said Bourn. "It's been hot or cold all season, and we've made a point lately to be more aggressive at the service line, going for the ace or to trying to throw off their (the opponent's) offense."

Tim Vaga led Elk Grove with 5 kills while libero Vesel Zulku paced the Grenadiers on defense with 9 digs.

"Once we got over the shell-shock of the first game," said Elk Grove coach Dan Windholz, "we played pretty good volleyball. Our passing really improved."

Senior setter Billy Psarros added 10 assists for the Mustangs but the real star of the night was Birmingham, who says she's looking forward to the continuation of her studies at Meadows (her favorite subjects are English and "possibly History") and her search for a college to attend after graduation.

She's also eager to continue her commitment to volleyball, where her efforts are much appreciated by her teammates.

"I call her an irreplaceable part of the team," said Psarros, "with the energy and personality that she brings. She's always got a smile on her face and she goes above and beyond her manager duties to help us on a personal level. She's just a great person."

Hersey d. Buffalo Grove: The Huskies came up with a pair of decisive wins in a 25-15, 25-15 decision.

Jacob Mailloux had a team-best 12 kills as Hersey improved to 9-1 overall and 3-0 in the MSL East.

Other top Huskies performers included Jakub Migus (39-for-39 setting, 24 assists), Lucas Irwin (10 digs) and Camran Saeed and Joe Nugent (7 kills apiece).

Brian Franz finished 20-for-22 hitting with 5 kills, and Ethan Soifer went 6-for-8 with 3 kills for the Bison.

"Hersey is a going to be a tough team this year," said BG coach Tim Kosiek. "Great athleticism at the net and experience on the court."

Schaumburg d. Hoffman Estates: The Saxons got a 7-kill effort from Dan Kaszuba in handling the Hawks 25-15, 25-14 in MSL West action. Other big contributors for Schaumburg were Isaiah Mitchell (3 aces, 10 assists) and Grant Behrens (6 digs, 1 ace).

Adeen Zamir, James Swan and Jonathan Kolweier each had 3 kills for Hoffman Estates, and Kolweier had a team-best 3 blocks.

Wheeling d. Prospect: Jared Moser's 16-for-24, 10-kill hitting effort helped the Wildcats to a 25-23, 25-22 decision.

Jon Janowski and Ryan Thomas provided 5 kills apiece for Wheeling (6-7, 1-2) which earned its first MSL East win this spring. Other Wildcats leaders included Joe Hernandez (12 digs) and AJ Ruttenberg (17-for-17 serving, 3 aces).

Barrington d. Fremd: The visiting Brocos stayed unbeaten in the MSL West with a 25-20, 25-17 decision.

Michael O'toole powers Barrington with a team-best 9 kills and 7 digs, while teammate Evan Carroll had 23 setting assists and Gabe Hartke served a pair of aces.

Top performers for Fremd included Aaron Peterson (4 kills, 3 blocks), Jason Hajdukovic (3 kills) and Martin Michalski (9-10 serving, 2 aces). Jacob Peterson provided 6 assists on 44-for-44 setting.

Fremd slipped to 5-4 overall and 1-2 in the West.

St. Patrick d. Leyden: The Eagles dropped a 25-15, 25-16 decision in nonconference play. Top performances for Leyden (5-4) came from Robert Elem (6 kills, 3 blocks), Tom Radziszewski (3 kills, 1 block) and Rodrigo Caldera (12 assists).

St. Viator d. Lake Forest Academy: The Lions pulled out a decisive third set 33-31 to outlast the Caxys in nonconference action.

St. Viator won the first set 25-21 before LFA bounced back to win the second 26-24.

"After a record high third-set score, our boys were able to constantly fight back point for point until our middles were able to bring home a victory," said St. Viator coach Jimmy Neill.

Top producers for the Lion (5-8) included Marcus Lannie (8 kills, 3 blocks, 18 digs), Will Heneghan (10 kills, 2 blocks, 12 assists, 15 digs) and Tim Allaire (5 blocks, 4 kills).

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