Boys volleyball: Ohio State commit O'Riordan leads on and off court at Barrington
Jack O'Riordan is, as has been well documented, an extraordinary volleyball player.
The Barrington outside hitter is part of the USA National Team development program, and will head to Ohio State University in the next step of his career, to lead the Buckeyes team and major in finance.
But according to Broncos coach Charlie Spry, it's more than just athletic skills that puts O'Riordan at the top of the class.
The senior anchored one of the best ever Barrington teams this year, a squad that finished 36-3 and went on a deep playoff run, and Spry said that a lot of success for O'Riordan has come from his understanding of teamwork.
O'Riordan is the Captain of the 2022 Cook County All-Area Boys Volleyball Team.
"He has the ability to look past himself, and understand that the team comes first, before personal accolades," said the coach.
"That's why he's been such a strong captain for us. Instead of leading silently by example, Jack asks his teammates to give more at every point.
"He makes it a priority to pick his teammates up in every match, and our entire program is so proud of him and the development he's shown over the past four years."
The humble O'Riordan himself gave a lot of the credit for the success of the Broncos this season to his mates.
"They've really stepped up, and we surprised a lot of people this year," said O'Riordan.
"Whether it be from the service line, or tight situations when we needed a dig, or ball control, the guys have just been fundamentally sound. The solidarity within our serve receive this season, in addition, has opened up a lot of opportunities for us in the middle."
O'Riordan was the Mid-Suburban League West player of the year in 2022, won the Barrington/Vernon Hills tournament Most Valuable Player Award, and was an all-tournament team selection in both the Wheaton-Warrenville South and the Downers Grove South invitationals.
The dynamic hitter entered into the postseason with 308 kills, a plus .372 hitting percentage, 146 digs, 20 blocks and 60 aces, and he led the Broncos to the Schaumburg sectional championship game, where they took the first set from eventual state champion Glenbard West before falling in three.
"The biggest thing that I can say about Jack is that he has really made a commitment to volleyball," said Spry. "He's a really smart kid, and in difficult situations, he's been our go-to guy and every team we play knows that."
"Even with the challenges he faces from other teams, he comes through for us match after match."
O'Riordan said that it was a conversation with former Barrington coach Rob Ridenour after his freshman season that inspired his ambition to be the best he could be.
"Coach 'R' took me aside, we talked, and he said I had a lot of potential. That kind of drove me, and I played a lot of club volleyball after that, and started to put in all the work.
"It's really an ongoing process. Things really started to click for me midway through my junior year, I started getting offers, and really got more and more into the sport. That was pretty much when the light switch turned on."
O'Riordan, who added that one of the things he has been most proud of this season is helping to inspire confidence in the younger players on his team, said that he didn't have to look back very far to pick his most memorable moment from his four years as a Bronco.
"It was winning the MSL championship this year," he said of the ultra-exciting three game comeback victory over Buffalo Grove for the title.
"It was a really thrilling game. We were a little short-handed, and BG really came to play. Our student section in the stands was just awesome, and I was able to get on a run at the service line at the end."