Boys volleyball: Lake County All-Area Team
Sammy Adkisson Vernon HillsYou think Cougars coach Chris Curry is a fan of this libero? "He is simply one of the best players in the state," Curry said of his repeat all-area selection. "He is the best libero in the north suburbs in our opinion. And also one of the best setters." Adkisson notched 375 digs this season and surpassed 1,000 for his career late in the season. He is the Cougars' record holder in this category. He was voted the Central Suburban League North Division player of the year. He also had 75 assists and 30 aces this season. "He is the best libero I've ever coached," Curry said. "And we've had some good ones here."
Evan Bajerski Lake ZurichTalk about your versatile player. Freshman year, Bajerski played middle. Sophomore year, he pounded balls as a right-side hitter. This year, the junior went back to the middle and connected on more than 150 kills and 60 blocks. "Not only that, Evan served 20 aces and also played defense extremely well in that rotation," Bears coach Lesly Ravenscraft said. "He worked hard in practice so he could become the threat on the court that he has become."
Cedric Bennett Vernon HillsStrong with the ability to soar at the net, Bennett will be a player to watch again next year. "He's a guy we can move all over the floor and we did," Cougars coach Chris Curry said." He's got an incredible vertical and he's our strongest kid by a long shot." Bennett put away 103 kills to go with 75 digs. He also had a staggering 44 aces. "When he's locked in with his serve and his hitting, he's an incredible weapon," Curry said.
Connor Clowers LakesLakes' all-time leader in kills and two-time all-area selection is graduating this spring. "This year, he played with more maturity, hustle, leadership and grit," Eagles coach Kevin Glabowicz said. "He has been our rock to lean on when we needed a point, and he consistently came through for us." Clowers powered 259 kills this year (563 in his career). He also had 175 digs and 32 aces in 34 games. "His departure will leave a heck of a void on the court," Glabowicz said. "But his time in the program has left a legacy."
Alex Cretors Warren Cretors, a senior, entered the season with an injury from club season. It hardly derailed him, as he knocked down 170 kills. "Alex played only about 18 matches due to his injury," Blue Devils coach Yun Chen said. "With Alex in our lineup, we were a .500 team. So his presence and skills helped our team out tremendously." Cretors also had 127 digs, 15 blocks and 13 aces.
Isaac Dahlstrom Grayslake CentralThere have been four seasons of boys volleyball at Grayslake Central, and Dahlstrom has been there the entire time. "Isaac has been the heart and soul of the team," Rams coach Dan Erlenbaugh said. "He is our leader on and off the court." Dahlstrom's final season included 185 kill, 64 blocks and 33 aces. "Isaac helped create a competitive culture here," Erlenbaugh said.
Tyler Donovan LakesA year ago, the Lakes setter was going through growing pains, yet still put together an all-area campaign. This season, the junior chalked up assists left and right. "We could see his confidence grow week by week," Eagles coach Kevin Glabowicz said. "His defense has improved tremendously." Donovan delivered a stunning 688 assists this year, bringing to school-record total to 1,223. "Tyler is one of the first in the gym," Glabowicz said. "He is a ferocious consumer of game tape."
Emmanuel Eugene Grayslake CentralThe outside belonged to Eugene. "He is an extremely smart player who is able to read a defense to get our team points," Rams coach Dan Erlenbaugh said. Eugene finished with 180 kills, 33 blocks and 22 aces. "Emmanuel's play helped lead us to the most successful season in our four-year program history," Erlenbaugh said.
Thomas Finn StevensonThe senior had a breakout campaign in helping the Patriots win 27 matches and a share of the North Suburban Conference championship. "He was a key reason for our success this year," Patriots coach Eric Goolish said. "He also improved greatly from the service line." Finn's uptick included 188 kills, 130 digs and 18 aces. "His reduction in attacking errors from junior to senior is noteworthy in his improvement as a player," Goolish said.
Teddy Gedville Grayslake NorthIf he's not the tallest high school setter in the world, Gedville might be the tallest setter around these parts. "Teddy did a great job running the offense with leadership and intensity," Knights coach Nikki Kirchway said. The 6-foot-4 junior registered 595 assists, 72 kills and 42 blocks. "He's a great team player and captain."
Patrick Graham LibertyvilleOn a team that struggled, the junior hitter/blocker stood out. "Patrick is one of the best athletes that has come through our program," Wildcats coach Jenny Smith said. Graham, who also plays soccer and basketball, pounded out 177 kills and added 54 blocks, 119 digs and 21 aces. "He is a tremendous blocker and he played big in the back row all season long," Smith said. "His offense from the front and back row is difficult to defend."
Jarod Hesse Grayslake NorthAn injury curtailed this senior's final campaign, as it kept him out of the lineup for a month. But Hesse still produced. "Jarod was a great leader and captain in our program," Knights coach Nikki Kirchway said of her two-time all-area selection. Despite missing time, Hesse notched 163 kills and 31 blocks. "Jarod plays with intensity heart and leadership," Kirchway said. The Augustana-bound Hesse became the first play from the Knights' four-year program to commit to play collegiately.
Derek Kolb GrantOne look is enough to determine Kolb is major threat. The senior and repeat all-area selection rolled up 257 kills, 152 digs, 22 blocks and 16 aces. "Derek had the ability to bounce the ball, tool the block and a has a great roll block," Bulldogs coach Michele Keenan said. "This kid has the firepower. Our go-to guy for a side out."
Josh Lahti Antioch Lahti did a lot and brought a lot. "His energy is contagious," Sequoits coach Jamie Atkinson said. The senior outside hitter delivered 153 kills, 70 blocks, 91 digs and a team-leading 18 aces. "He was the first to congratulate a teammate," Atkinson said. "He led our front row in aces. He was a great player to set the pace for the varsity."
Michael LeBaron LakesThe Eagles' success this year, which included conference and regional titles, was the aided by stellar defense. LeBaron, the libero, was at the heart of it. "Michael took tremendous strides during the off-season," Eagles coach Kevin Glabowicz said. "He brought consistency in the back row when we had moments of struggle." The senior led the Eagles with 258 digs. "He plays a tremendously versatile and intelligent libero," Glabowicz said, "with his ability to switch defense at a moment's notice."
Gavin Meng StevensonThe Chicago Bounce club team made a wise choice in its selection of Meng. "Gavin is extremely dynamic serving and attacking in the front and back rows," Patriots coach Eric Goolish said. Meng's junior season was highlighted by 230 kills and 41 aces. "We are lucky Gavin is a junior," Goolish said. "We look forward to him enhancing his game in the off-season and leading the Patriots' squad in 2020."
Lukas Pytlak Lake ZurichWhat an impressive campaign for Pytlak, the junior captain of this team. "He is the most consistent player I have ever coached," said Lake Zurich coach, Lesly Ravenscraft. "His passing is spot, allowing him to have more digs than our libero." In a balanced offense, Pytlak registered nearly 160 kills. "He is a leader on the court and keeps his teammates focused and energized."
Marc Rey MundeleinThe MVP of the Mundelein squad was officially deadly at the net. With 107 kills and 105 blocks, Rey was clearly the Mustangs' biggest threat. He also had 86 digs.
Justin Ross Stevenson Ross is a blocker that stepped up his game this season. "This year he racked up 60 more kills than last year," Patriots coach Eric Goolish said. "And he more than doubled his blocking production." For his junior campaign, Ross had 186 kills and 106 blocks.
Mike Scott CarmelThe Pepperdine University-bound senior eclipsed the 300-kill mark for the Corsairs this spring. "Mike had an incredible career for us," Corsairs coach Kevin Nylen said. "(He was) one of the best volleyball players ever to put on a Carmel volleyball jersey." Officially, Scott slammed 307 kills, 29 blocks, 23 aces and 74 digs. He was three-time selection to the All-East Suburban Catholic Conference team and repeat all-area selection. He moved from middle hitter to outside his senior year. "Not only did we ask him to hit outside," Nylen said, "but to pass in serve rotation, serve and play all six rotations."
Will Sorenson StevensonThe Harvard-bound senior will get a first-rate education and get to play some volleyball as well. He possesses a wicked jump serve. "It was incredible to see a setter reinvent himself as a right-side player, seemingly overnight," Patriots coach Eric Goolish said of his repeat all-area choice. Sorenson racked up 598 assists, 55 kills and 36 aces. "Will was a leader for us whether he was setting or playing right side," Goolish added.
Taylor Vander Jeugdt WarrenIn two seasons as the Warren setter, he has registered more than 800 assists. This season in Gurnee, Vander Jeugdt notched 431 assists. He also had 185 digs, 63 kills and 21 aces. "He is the vocal leader of our team," Blue Devils coach Yun Chen said. "And his work ethic is second to none."
Bartosz Wielgos Lake ZurichThe captain of the all-area team, Wielgos had a marvelous campaign in leading the Bears to 24 wins and regional-final berth. He is a repeat all-area choice. "Lake Zurich was lucky to have Bartosz in its program for four years, inspiring younger players to join the sport," Bears coach Lesly Ravenscraft said. His laser serve registered more than 50 aces. More than 300 kills went sprawling from his hand. "If the team needed a side out," Ravenscraft said, "Bart was our guy. And even though every opponent knew it, he would get the side out with a kill, a trick roll shot or a dump to the deep corner."
Antioch: Joey Whittall
Carmel: Sean Sidel
Grant: Taveras Davis Williams, Ian Fox
Grayslake Central: Steve Reinoso, Jacob Spicer, Kaleb Patrick.
Grayslake North: Nathan Atwell, Nicholas LeBaron, Sam Inmon
Lakes: Ethan Metzelaar, Ryan Buchanan
Lake Zurich: Kyle Lamb, Justin Stewart, Logan Schaedel, Daniel Young
Libertyville: Alex Wieck, Jack Stavrakos
Mundelein: Andrew Gibbons,
Stevenson: Samuel Epstein, John Angelos, Andrew Keevins
Vernon Hills: Jack McDonald, Kris Hahn, Josh Ludolph
Warren: Jesse Knuckles