Boys volleyball: Geneva sets school record for wins; Bartlett rolling
A senior-dominated Geneva team is in the middle of its best boys volleyball season in seven years, starting the week with a 17-4 record and 8-2 in the DuKane Conference behind only Lake Park.
The Vikings, who already have broke their record for wins, own victories over St. Charles North, St. Charles East, Oswego, Metea Valley, Waubsonie Valley and Wheaton North, among others.
"With a senior heavy group, we are led by six players who demonstrate strong leadership, skill and commitment," Geneva coach Stephanie Hennig said. "We hope to do some damage in the state tournament."
Senior outside Corey Mayotte will play next year at Loras College. He has 208 kills, 31 aces and 108 digs.
Michael Cassidy, another senior outside, has 178 kills, 8 aces and 69 digs. Senior setter Chris Nosewicz has 493 assists; senior Jack Koster plays right side with 96 kills, 21 blocks and 82 digs; and senior libero AJ Hansen has 178 digs.
St. Charles North update:
The North Stars are coming off a good weekend with wins over Naperville Central and Benet to improve to 7-9. They also defeated St. Charles East last week.
"We have been up and down this year and trying to find our groove with many different lineups," coach Todd Weimer said. "But as of late, we're starting to find our rhythm."
At the time of postseason seeding, the North Stars were 4-8 and earned an 11 seed. But they have shown their potential as one of two schools to push Lake Park to 3 sets, and they did it twice. They could play the Lancers a third time in a reginal final.
"It's been a trying experience for everyone with the current guidelines and safety procedures in place as well as trying to keep everyone happy, safe, and healthy," Weimer said. "We have recently adopted a mantra, "Find A Way" from a recent team building activity and conditioning group called Battle Tested. We have had some key take-aways and saw a few things that we need to work on."
West Aurora update:
The Blackhawks (4-8, 2-5 Southwest Prairie Conference) are in what coach Tolis Koskinaris calls a rebuilding year after graduating 11 seniors.
Koskinaris has been encouraged with his team's performances in several matches, including against Naperville North, Naperville Central and Oswego East.
"We have a strong sophomore and junior class coming up," Koskinaris said.
Jake Koehler, is one of those players, a junior outside hitter with 101 kills; Junior setter Gracin Bacarella has 194 assists, 9 aces and 41 digs.
Koskinaris said his team has a loyal student fan base -- home or road.
"Somehow we have the most fan support everywhere we play," Koskinaris said. "No issues with the kids or effort here on my end; they are busting their butts and doing everything they are asked to do. The pandemic hit some programs harder than others. It got us pretty good at West Aurora."
The Hawks (15-1, 5-0) are ranked 18th in the state and earned the No. 3 seed out of 24 schools in the Lake Park sectional. Coach Robert Schwantz pointed to wins over Geneva, Benet and St. Charles North as highlights.
Senior Elijah Gregg leads the team in kills (140), aces (23), and is tied for the best serve-receive (2.33). He is also second in digs (84) and has a .294 kill efficiency. Gregg is playing at Judson next season.
Senior libero Pratham Patel is tied with Gregg for best serve-receive, leads in digs (150), and has a 10:1 ace to missed serve ratio.
Junior setter Adarsh Patel runs the 5-1 offense with 375 assists, 47 digs, 23 kills and a .487 kill efficiency.
South Elgin update:
The Storm (6-3, 4-0) are looking forward to hosting a regional. Their lineup features a mix of classes directed by junior setter Andrew Galanes (98 assists, 23 kills, 43 digs, 10 blocks, 7 aces).
Two more juniors -- Kyle Aluquin (51 kills, 5 aces, 51 digs) and Tyler Ripoli (34 kills, 4 blocks), play outside and opposite, respectively.
Sophomore outside Sean Harvey (43 kills, 3 aces, 29 digs) and senior middle Kaden Bertram (13 kills, 3 aces, 14 blocks) also have been key to the team's success.
"We are hoping to finish the year off strong and carry that into the regional," coach Jesse Bossenga said.
Coach Shelly Mueller likes the way the Sabres (3-11, 0-5) have been battling.
"Our team is working hard, competing and learning the game this year," Mueller said. "We have lost some very close matches and continue to work and improve each and every day. I have a great group of seniors that are leading this team and teaching our young players the game."
Three of those seniors are outside Abdur M'Nasri, middle Angel Robelo and setter Bijin Zachariah.
M'Nasri leads the team with 107 kills, 10 blocks, 73 digs and 10 aces. The team captain, M'Nasri has moved from middle to the outside.
"He has picked up the game and learned how to pass throughout the season," Mueller said. "He is a fantastic leader, constantly working with his teammates to elevate our level and teach our young players the game of volleyball."
With 45 kills and 15 blocks, Robelo, "makes a huge impact on our floor," said Mueller while
Zachariah has 195 assists.
The Red Raiders started the week with a 5-10 record.
Coach Gerry Marchand said going 3-0 at the Grayslake Central quad in early May was a highlight.
Huntley is still a relatively new program having played its first games in 2016 and first IHSA regional game in 2017.
Winning its first regional game is a goal for this year's team. The Red Raiders play Rockford Jefferson on June 8.
"I knew we were going to win more games this year than ever, but I challenged the boys to not settle for wins, but a win at regionals," coach Marchand said. "With how we played last week against Mundelein, we will be tough to stop at our regionals if we can perform at that level for the rest of the season. We're making history this year and I am excited to see how much history we make."
Thomas Swanson moved from middle blocker to outside and plans to play volleyball in college at Mount Union in Ohio.
Setter Jacob Fiandalo is "crazy athletic," said Marchand.
"All the other coaches and people I talk to about our team are impressed with him," Marchand said. "He's such a natural and has only been playing for 3 years. He's like 5-11 and touches over 11 feet."