Brother Rice junior Gavin Arnold forces the ball over the net during a match against Richards on April 19. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Brother Rice junior Gavin Arnold forces the ball over the net during a match against Richards on April 19. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Boys Volleyball | Brother Rice falls to Glenbard West and York, takes 4th at Smack Attack

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By Xavier Sanchez
Correspondent

It was a busy weekend in the area for boys volleyball as Brother Rice hosted its 14th annual Smack Attack tournament.

The 24-team event played April 19-20 featured area teams Brother Rice, Marist and Richards, along with defending Class 4A champion Glenbard West and two highly rated teams from Kentucky. Matches were played at Rice, Mother McAuley and the Oak Lawn Pavilion.

The Crusaders (11-6) took fourth place, falling to York, 22-25, 25-14, 25-20, in the third-place match.

Marist placed second, falling to Glenbard West, 25-23, 25-21, in the championship match.

Rice kicked off its weekend by defeating Richards, 25-15, 25-9, and won their next two matches against Lincoln-Way Central and St. Xavier (Kentucky) before falling to the defending state champ Hilltoppers, 25-22, 25-21, in the semifinals. The loss to Glenbard West snapped an eight-game winning streak.

Rice BVball Rice team scaled

Brother Rice players celebrate after scoring a point in a match against Richards at the Smack Attack tournament on April 19. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Against Richards, John Mikrut had five kills and an ace, Vaughn Goberville had four kills and Matt Phen finished with 17 assists.

Zach Mikrut and John Mikrut were named to the Smack Attack All-Tournament Team.

New Rice head coach Brandon McGinnis, a graduate of both Brother Rice and St. Xavier University, inherited a team that made a deep run through the state playoffs last spring. This year’s team features 12 juniors and two seniors.

“This year was a question mark of who will take leadership roles,” said McGinnis.

Junior outside hitter Paul Baker, a third-year starter, and the Mikrut twins were named team captains entering the season. Baker was active in the win over Richards, finishing with a team-high eight kills and one ace.

“They have really shown maturity and have already looked like veterans throughout the season, McGinnis said of the trio.

McGinnis is confident the Crusaders will make the necessary adjustments to compete at a high level once again come the postseason.

“It is all starting to come together,” he said. “Day by day, little by little, we are moving in the right direction.”

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