Boys volleyball: Lake Park, St. Francis earn No. 1 sectional seeds
Lake Park earned a No. 1 sectional seed, entering the week with a 13-1 record and undefeated in the DuKane Conference.
Only a 26-24 loss in the third set to Glenbard West stands between the Lancers and a perfect season.
"We are super excited for the opportunity to have a full postseason," Lake Park coach Brian Fischer said.
Senior outside Josh Schellinger will play at the University of California-San Diego next year. He has 156 kills, 11 blocks, 63 digs and 25 aces.
Senior setter Elijah Wrobel will play at Judson. He has 377 assists, 13 blocks, 39 digs and 23 aces.
Senior outside Andrew Deardorff also is playing college volleyball. The University of St. Francis-Pennsylvania recruit has 99 kills, 7 blocks, 38 digs and 4 aces.
Wheaton North update:
The Lancers aren't the only DuKane Conference team playing well.
Wheaton North (18-7, 8-4) trails only Lake Park and Geneva in the DuKane. The Falcons received the No. 5 seed in the Hinsdale Central sectional.
The Falcons have a balanced attack. They average 11 kills a set but spread around per player at 2.7, 2.6, 2.6, 1.7 and 1.5 per set.
"We have another very strong and very deep team this year where our success has largely been due to our team mindset, phenomenal defense and ability to spread out our offense to all of our offensive weapons," coach John Noe said. "We have proven to be a threat in all facets of our game. We look forward to making a deep run in the Hinsdale Central regional and sectional."
Senior captain Brian Knoerr plays opposite hitter and is a three-year varsity member. He leads the team in kills, is second in blocks and second in digs. He will play at Belmont Abbey College next year in Belmont, N.C.
Junior libero Jack Rambasek has 224 digs. He recorded the most digs in a match in school history twice this season (19) and the second most three times (17).
Wheaton Warrenville South update:
Senior outside Trey Closset broke a school record in the rally score era with 27 kills against Neuqua Valley.
Closset has 226 kills, 24 aces, 17 solo blocks and 106 digs.
St. Francis update:
The Spartans are 23-0 and ranked No. 1 in the state by Illinois Prep Volleyball. They received the No. 1 seed in their sectional.
Coach Mike Lynch's lineup features Dave Arellanes, middle Aiden Benson (Princeton), outside KJ Glab (Purdue-Fort Wayne), outside Cole Hansen, setter Kevin Schuele (Mckendree University) and libero Danny Smithers (Concordia University in Irvine, Calif.).
Metea Valley update:
Juniors Chad Luckinbill and Aidan Murphy led the Mustangs to three wins in their first four DVC matches as the team chases their first conference crown.
On the season, Luckinbill has 4 aces, 60 kills and 30 digs, and Murphy has 8 aces, 10 kills, 130 assists and 26 digs for coach John Aister's squad.
Coach Kelly Torres has a core of players leading the way for the Bison, who entered the week 2-3.
"I have some really great players who are finally starting to come together on the court," Torres said. "They are great friends off the court, but early on that did not always translate to the court. Now, we are starting to get into a groove and have reached a turning point in the season."
Junior Karim Zaggoti plays outside and sets, a very versatile and smart player, according to Torres. He has 30 kills, 12 aces, 12 assists and 25 digs.
"He is our MVP this year because he is just an all-around amazing volleyball player," Torres said. "He has great hands but hits tremendously well, so it was hard to figure out where to put him because he can do everything. I think he has a bright future and could definitely play in college."
Senior middle Adam Marcelo transferred in.
"He's a great communicator and team player," Torres said. "He gets better every time he steps on the court."
Torres called sophomore outside Payton Saldana the best hitter by far. He has 29 kills. "He is so young but so good," Torres said. "Has a huge vertical and hits aggressively. He needs more experience, but I think he could end up playing D1 or D2 down the road."
Junior Isaac Abad is the libero and one of two captains. Torres said "He's got a great volleyball IQ, usually the first one in the gym and the last one to leave," Torres said.
Glenbard South update:
The Raiders are 3-8 in their first year as a program, winning their first two conference matches last week. Their whole varsity roster is made up of freshmen and sophomores.
"Things are starting to come together for us," coach Chad Grant said. "These guys are going to be a very strong team in two years."
Sophomore outside Tristan Sounthala leads team with 46 kills. Sophomore setter Mike Hines has 152 assists and 6 aces.
"Tristan jumps out of the gym and is our most physical player," Grant said. "Mike is doing a great job of leaning to run our offense. He is an incredibly hard worker that takes no plays off."
Glenbard East update:
The Rams (8-5, 4-0 in the Upstate Eight) returned from a COVID pause last week to beat West Chicago on Tuesday.
"This has been a tough year but the boys have shown great resilience this year," Rams coach Marci Maier said. "At the beginning of the season we had a very inexperienced team and they came along nicely. We are looking forward to finishing the season strong."
Trevor Real leads with 86 kills, passing a 2.24 with 53 digs. Setter Connor Soto has 187 assists, 11 aces and 26 kills. Dom O'Brien is the defensive leader with 60 digs.
The Warriors (5-5, 4-2) are led by a pair of seniors, Jack Walsh and Joshua Chavez.
Walsh has 83 kills, is hitting .307, 8 aces, 10 blocks and 78 digs. He will set at Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina next year.
Chavez has 36 kills and 23 blocks, hitting .325.
The Warriors are 5-1 in their last six matches.
"As with all other schools and programs this has been a crazy year for us," Willowbrook coach Ryan Bazon said. "Our numbers were very low this year and we did not have a few returning varsity players come out. Overall though things are going very well. I am very excited about how we have progressed with the limited varsity experience that we have. The guys have worked very hard in the gym and it is starting to show on the court during matches."
Downers Grove South update:
The Mustangs (13-2) won another West Suburban Gold Conference title this spring. They also own a crossover victory over Glenbard West after losing to them earlier this season.
Kurt Steuer's squad features seven seniors including three-year outside Conor Grabs, four-year setter Nathaniel Cossyleon (Dominican University), two-year outside Sam Hoskin (McKendree University), two-year outside Aaron Mars (Dominican University), three-year setter Dom Fallara.