Boys volleyball: Giezycki keeps Vernon Hills rolling despite graduating 11 seniors

  • Vernon Hills senior Erik Giezycki is the Captain of the Lake County All-Area Boys Volleyball Team.

      Vernon Hills senior Erik Giezycki is the Captain of the Lake County All-Area Boys Volleyball Team. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
By Bill Esbrook
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 6/8/2022 12:23 PM

Erik Giezycki says that he continually works on becoming the best volleyball player that he can possibly be.

So far, it's worked out pretty well, to say the least.

 

Giezycki, a Vernon Hills setter who longtime coach Chris Curry says is "only the third player in the program's history to earn four varsity letters," has helped lead the Cougars on an incredible two-year run.

Last season, Vernon Hills went 33-2 and advanced to the state finals, and Giezycki was a huge part of that success.

But this year, with the senior captain leading the way, might have been even more impressive.

The Cougars lost 11 seniors to graduation from their 2021 squad but still managed to post a 29-9 overall mark and a second consecutive undefeated Central Suburban North conference championship.

"He's been a fantastic leader," said Curry of Giezycki, who was co-player of the year in the CSL North this season. "Erik is all about the team and helping the less experienced players."

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"I'm guessing a lot of people expected us to drop off the map a little after graduating all those seniors, but Erik is the primary reason that didn't happen. He's not only set for us his entire career, but this year he also led our team in kills and is second all-time in program history in aces."

Giezycki said that he had such confidence in his teammates that it came as no surprise to him that the Cougars excelled again this year.

"I expected us to go pretty far," said Giezycki. "The only thing that changed this year is that being a senior, I had to take on more of a leadership role."

Curry said that one of the things that he has been most impressed with is how Giezycki quickly acclimated to being part of the team as just a freshman -- and beyond.

"Erik handled himself really well," said the coach, "on a team full of older, stronger players, and that's not always easy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Fourteen year olds and eighteen year olds don't always have that much in common, but they all loved volleyball, and he did a great job of fitting in."

"Last year, as a junior setter on a team with eleven seniors, he didn't have to lead that group. I was wondering how he'd transition from years of being the younger guy to being the best player and having the spotlight on him, and he's been great."

Giezycki will now have the opportunity to hone his volleyball skills and continue his tradition of leadership in college, as he's committed to attend Long Island University, a school that will be in just its second season of D1 volleyball competition.

The senior said that advancing to the state tournament last year is one of the favorite memories of his time at Vernon Hills.

"It was definitely a new experience for me personally," said Giezycki, "and it turned out to be a great experience. It was high risk, high reward, and it was exhilarating."

And as for other memorable moments, Giezycki said that it's the camaraderie with his teammates he'll treasure most of all.

"We always went out together as a team after a win," said Giezycki. "I loved the way we were not only a team, but also a family. We enjoyed each other's company."

The setter also had some kind words for his coaching staff.

"Coach Curry and all of our coaches have been very committed over the years. They ran a great program, we trusted what they said, and it worked."

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