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Boys Volleyball Sectionals: Marist tops Br. Rice, will face LW East in sectional finals

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By Randy Whalen
Correspondent

Michael Bos had just put down what was probably the biggest block of his high school career.

It sent Brother Rice team into a frenzied celebration. The Crusaders hadn’t won the match, but they had moved to a third set against the top-ranked team in the state.

Rice eventually fell short, losing 25-19, 26-28, 25-22 to Marist, in the semifinals of the Sandburg Sectional on May 28.

The RedHawks, No. 1 according to Illinois Prep Volleyball, advanced to the sectional championship match against Lincoln-Way East on May 31. It will be a rematch of 2019 and 2021 sectional final matches — won by the eventual state champion RedHawks three years ago and the Griffins last season. There was no postseason tournament in 2020.

Lincoln-Way East was a 25-22, 25-19 winner over host Sandburg in the other semifinal.

Rice won its 16th regional championship since 2003 by rallying to defeat Chicago Christian 19-25, 25-21, 25-19, two days earlier to capture the title of their own regional.

At sectionals, the Crusaders (20-18) showed they belonged on the same court as one of the state’s elite teams, with only one starter graduating, appear to be in good shape to be a contender next season.

“It was crazy,” said Bos, a junior middle hitter, of his block. “I just wanted to give us a chance to win it. The outcome didn’t end up the way we wanted but we came to play.

“When we play together as a team, we showed our potential and the fact that we can compete with any team in the state.”

Bos had seven kills and three blocks and junior outside hitter Nathan Kramer creamed 15 kills. Senior right side hitter Tom Lamb lambasted seven kills, junior outside hitter Brendan McCarthy mashed seven kills and had two blocks, junior setter Luke Dwyer had 42 assists, and junior libero Kevin Lufrano added 15 digs.

Marist was paced by junior outside hitter Marty Canavan, who had a match-high 16 kills, including the match-winner. Kellen O’Keefe had 11 kills, and fellow senior outside hitter Andrew Kopinski had eight kills,

Junior middle blocker Alex Smith added five kills and three blocks, junior libero Brendan Schoeberl had 18 digs, and sophomore outside hitter Luke Brannigan added seven digs.

“That was one of our best matches and I’m incredibly proud of this team,” Brother Rich coach Dan Dwyer said. “For our guys to fight back and get that second set win was awesome. We are going to have everyone back except our right side (Tom Lamb). I’m going to miss all our seniors but we have a lot coming back.”

 

Third time no charm

The Eagles (20-18) lost for the third time in as many sectional semifinals to SouthWest Suburban Blue foe East. The impact of the season showed when senior outside hitter Brayden Rice came up to Sandburg coach David Vales afterward to thank him for coaching him.

“Our guys saw the bigger picture, had the love of the game and we got to see the improvement,” Vales said. “We worked on timing and commitment and had 15 different guys play this past week.”

That included the Eagles capturing a regional title for the 25th time since 1995 two days earlier with a 20-25, 25-15, 25-19 win over Lemont at the Brooks Regional.

Rice led Sandburg with six kills and a block. Senior right side hitter Brendan Hornik had five kills and an ace,  senior outside hitter Gavin Kissane contributed four kills, sophomore Zachary Supanich added three kills, while senior setter Drew Snaidauf dished out 12 assists, and sophomore setter Myles Aquino added eight assists for the Eagles.

Sandburg lost 10 seniors to graduation.

“Lincoln-Way East is not going to give it to you and did a nice job of putting the ball in play,” Vales said. “Still, after the first set, I thought the momentum could be equal. But then we made silly mistakes (five miss-hits, two service errors) in the second set and it bit us.”

 

De La Salle Sectional
Morton and St. Rita lost heartbreaking semifinal matches on May 28.

Morton battled top-seeded St. Ignatius down to the wire before falling 25-16, 16-25, 28-26. The Mustangs (22-11) finished with their most successful season since they advanced to the state quarterfinals in 2014, and it was quite a turnaround from last season’s shortened schedule when they went 4-10.

In the regional title match on May 26, they defeated Solorio, 25-18, 25-10.

St. Rita (27-11) fell short in its bid for a sectional championship for a fourth straight season and captured their sixth straight regional championship with a 25-8, 25-8 victory over Hancock on May 26.

Senior setter Danny Chambers had 26 assists, senior middle hitter Charlie Flynn smacked 10 kills, senior libero James Sanders had nine digs, senior outside hitter Ryne Jacobsen jolted eight kills, senior outside hitter Mark Erdmann put down six kills, and junior right side hitter Shauniel Nelson added five kills in the regional title match.

 

Hinsdale Central Sectional
Lyons fell just short against the host Red Devils in the Hinsdale Central Sectional, losing 23-25, 25-23, 25-22.

The Lions (25-13) won a regional championship for the third straight played season and the seventh time in the last eight years. They defeated Benet Academy 25-17, 21-25, 25-20 to win the Oswego East Regional.

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