Scouting DuPage County boys volleyball
Many DuPage County boys volleyball programs welcome the return to a complete schedule following last season's upheaval.
Glenbard West enters the season among those teams brimming with optimism to ending the season at Hoffman Estates, the site of the boys volleyball state tournament. The Hilltoppers (37-3) have the potential to join the boys basketball team with a stellar season. Senior Gavin Swartz, senior Danny Dorsey and juniors Parker Moorhead are part of a talented and deep group of players expected to lead the Hilltoppers.
"I'm looking forward to a very talented group," Glenbard West coach Christine Giunta-Mayer said. "The seniors are very familiar with our culture, our style of volleyball and they're more than willing to share everything that they know with the younger crew…We're looking forward to regular season."
St. Francis (29-2) has a revamped roster with some new faces following a memorable run last year. Seniors Andrew Sommers, Enzo Farinha and Ryan Lyngaas and sophomore Kyle Zediker are the leading returnees.
"We have a young but talented team this year," St. Francis coach Mike Lynch said. "Each player has a strong work ethic and the guys have pushed themselves to play at a high level."
Senior outside hitter Drew Rogers, a four-year varsity player, is the headline returnee for Benet. The Maryville recruit joins Kovas Neverauskas and Dominic Krzeczkowski to form a solid group slated to compete for the East Suburban Catholic Conference title.
"We're very senior heavy this year and have high-level players returning and starting for us," Benet coach Jeff Steinberg said.
Lake Park, which won 25 games last season, enters a transition season due to losing all of its starters, with seniors Andrew Carzoli, James McClellan and Conor Gobetz taking on bigger roles. The Lancers lost to Glenbrook North in the title game last season.
"There's a lot of young talent in the gym and we're excited to see what we can accomplish coming off a very successful season as we try to rebuild back to that," Lake Park coach Brian Fischer said.
Senior middle hitter Britten Beallis is one of the top players in the area, sparking high hopes for Naperville North to have a turnaround season.
"Last season we started two sophomores and three juniors, so we will have some good experience coming back this season," Naperville North coach Nate Bornancin said. "We will look to our seniors a lot for their leadership, which is a role they have taken on wonderfully already."
With three all-conference players back, Neuqua Valley is looking for a winning season. Seniors Cole Vonnahme, Mason Dentzman and Mateo Scharosch are slated to be the key leaders for the Wildcats.
"We expect to improve on last year's strange season with so few matches and no tournaments," Neuqua Valley coach Erich Mendoza said. "The bulk of our starters last year were juniors and it was their first year playing together. We'll have strong offensive weapons."
Waubonsie Valley is a completely different team after losing 11 players from last season's 19-win team that won the DuPage Valley Conference. Senior outside hitter Michael Lu, a four-year varsity starter, is a player to watch this season.
"Michael has provided big kills in critical moments throughout his team on the varsity," Waubonsie Valley coach Noel Soto said. "
Metea Valley (6-8) is brimming with experience due to six returning starters.
Downers Grove South is coming off a solid season after winning the West Suburban Gold. The Mustangs (17-4, 6-0) have a deep and talented lineup, led by senior middle hitter DeClan Mulcahey, a Benedictine recruit, and senior outside hitter Matt Molnar.
"Our expectations are going out and competing together every day in practices and matches," Downers Grove South coach Kurt Steuer said.
Downers Grove North (9-9) is led by senior outside hitter Ian Schuller. The 6-foot-4 Schuller is being recruited by several schools and joins forces with junior outside hitter Theo Pawlik.
York (13-8) is one of the youngest teams in the area with five sophomore starters, with senior libero Jake Reisus, who had 60 kills and 124 digs last year, the most experienced player.
"We will be young, but the ceiling is very high," York coach Kenneth Dowdy said. "It may be the most talented group of players I've ever coached at the end of the day."
Willowbrook (6-7) welcomes the return of a full season after a limited schedule last spring. Senior setter Dom Faillo (49 assists, 23 digs) is back to lead the Warriors.
"We have a great group of guys this year and expect great team chemistry on the court," Willowbrook coach Ryan Bazon said.
Hinsdale South has some talented pieces back, including Cole Korfist, Ryan Hashim and Quinn Marron.
"We're looking to be very competitive again and have a solid run in the playoffs," Hinsdale South coach Joe Lencioni said.
Hinsdale Central (20-6) is a team to watch this season, mainly due to the return of Jakobi Lange who had 229 kills and 25 digs last season.
"Jakobi Lange will be a force on the outside for us," first-year Hinsdale Central coach Tom Gilbert said. "He has established himself as one of the top outside hitters in the state."
After wining the Chicago Catholic Conference title in three of the last four seasons, Montini has the luxury of relying on an experienced crew to make another run. Senior setter Andrew Briones, senior outside hitter Miguel Jaojoco, senior outside hitter Cillian O'Flaherty, senior Chase Lichtor and senior Ryan Hubney are among the experienced returnees.
"We intend to compete for the conference championship," Montini coach Brian Opoka said. "We have the largest program in my time at Montini, and have grown to 28 players. We return five key varsity players."
Wheaton Warrenville South is back to full strength after numerous players elected to opt out from playing last spring. Senior setter Dylan Feely, a Quincy University recruit, senior middle hitter Ammar Brzovic (Dominican University) and senior outside hitter Daniel Vlassov form the bulk of the experience.
"Big expectations on tap for our three returning starters as they continue on the path that they started last year," Wheaton Warrenville South coach William Schreier said.
Wheaton North (22-8, 8-4) is motivated to top last season's second-place showing in the DuKane Conference. The Falcons have a strong group of returnees, including senior middle hitter Sebastian Lopez, senior outside hitter Charley Marchis, senior middle hitter Connor Moses, senior libero Jack Rambasek, senior setter Josh Schmitt and senior outside hitter Will Trussell and senior Matas Vasiliauskas.
"With a strong core of returning starters back, we look to use our experience and leadership to compete for a DuKane Conference title as well as a deep run in the playoffs," Wheaton North coach John Noe IV said.
Glenbard South's second year of boys volleyball includes a solid cast of juniors in Mike Hines, Tristan Sounthala, Will Mack and Owen Gibson.
West Chicago coach Regina Pauli is banking on eight seniors, including five returning starters, to make a move up the conference standings. Bo Parker, Brendis Prebis and Ethan Martins are among the top returnees.