Glenbard South hoping for a second start for its boys volleyball program
If high school sports can resume this spring, Glenbard South's boys volleyball program won't be starting over.
The Raiders will get a second chance to get started.
Glenbard South's first-year program made it through four practices before the season was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It hurts everybody not being able to practice and play," said Raiders coach Chad Grant, noting only his freshmen played last year if they played at all, "but it hurts us a little bit more since our sophomores through seniors are already definitely behind everybody else as far as high school volleyball goes."
Glenbard South, the smallest school in District 87, also was the only Glenbard school without a boys volleyball program. There had been interest in a program because Glenbard South's main feeder school, Glen Crest Middle School in Glen Ellyn, has long had a boys volleyball team.
"There are kids in the building that have been asking me about this for years," said Grant, the coach of the Raiders' girls program for nine years. He coached Addison Trail's boys for six seasons before taking over the Raiders' boys this year.
The interest increased to the point Glenbard South decided it could support a program, athletic director Tim Carlson said.
The district has a strong history in boys volleyball. Glenbard West owns seven state trophies, including three championships. Glenbard East took third in 2006.
Glenbard South's program was approved in August by the district board of education. It will be parent-funded the first three years, primarily through a $270 fee and fundraising that was suspended when the season was.
Grant and Carlson had been working through the school year to get the program off the ground, with scheduling the hardest part of the job. They started with a JV team as well as a freshman A and a freshman B squad with plans to add a varsity team next season.
That plan to add varsity next year and play in the Upstate Eight Conference remains in place.
Grant attracted four players from his 2015 IHSA third-place Addison Trail team to coach the Raiders with him: Alex Dickmann, Zach Vaca. Arlind Rojba and Jacob Grygo, the latter two as volunteers while they played at Benedictine University.
The Raiders practiced with 23 freshmen, 11 or 12 sophomores, three juniors and a senior, Grant said, calling the freshman class "very strong."
Grant also coaches the Raiders' freshman boys basketball team, which helped him recruit for volleyball.
The only positive to having the season suspended is that the program can save on expenses.
"We're saving a little bit, I guess, by not playing," Carlson said, "but at the same time we're not able to really launch the program off the ground because we haven't been able to play any games or participate in that way."
Glenbard South wasn't the only school trying to get a program going this spring.
District 155 was launching a co-op girls lacrosse team comprised of players from Crystal Lake South, Crystal Lake Central, Cary-Grove and Prairie Ridge. The team went 15-0 last year as a JV squad.
The Mid-Suburban League East Division also planned to begin boys and girls lacrosse varsity play this spring.