Boys Volleyball: Hoops it is for Benet star
Updated: May 7, 2012 8:42PM
There’s no limit to what Benet’s Bobby Wehrli could do on a college volleyball court.
But if the high-flying 6-foot-5 senior has his way, nobody will ever find out.
Wehrli, who has been one of the best volleyball players in Illinois since he donned a varsity uniform three years ago, hopes to do all his flying on the basketball court at Dayton University where he plans to walk on next fall.
His decision to forego volleyball on the next level has broken more than a few hearts.
“People are salivating over him,” Benet coach Amy Van Eekeren said. “Everybody wants Bobby. We even feel fortunate to have him right now.”
Volleyball has never been Wehrli’s first love. But it has been an inevitable part of his future since he was a youngster growing up in a family where he was surrounded by volleyball players.
“A lot of people in my family played volleyball…my cousins, a lot of my sisters, my mom and my aunts,” he said. “One of my sisters played volleyball at Naperville North. My cousins and sisters played a lot of club and stuff. My mom was really involved in it back in grade school. I started from there.”
But even now, with his high school volleyball career winding down, Wehrli can’t help missing basketball. It’s understandable. He was part of the Benet team that was unbeaten and ranked No. 1 two years ago before it was upset by East Aurora 60-52 in the sectional semifinal.
This season, despite losing Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin) and David Sobolewski (Northwestern) to graduation, the Redwings enjoyed another stellar campaign. However, Wehrli’s senior year came to an abrupt halt with a heartbreaking 44-43 loss to Metea Valley in the regional finals.
“It’s a little tough, especially now since my basketball high school career is over,” he said. “I miss it a lot. I wish I was still playing. Volleyball has helped me forget a little bit, but not enough.”
Benet’s volleyball opponents wish Wehrli was still playing basketball, too. His 17 kills led the Redwings to a recent victory over No. 7 Downers Grove North, and he had 13 kills in a victory over No. 9 Waubonsie Valley at the Benet invitational.
Not bad for a kid who never played a minute of club volleyball.
“He’s playing outstanding,” Van Eekeren said. “He’s come so far in three years, and he continues to develop. He’s a force all around the court. His backrow attacks, his serve receive have definitely come around. He’s in the primary passing role and passing more aggressively.
“He’s also swinging more aggressively and getting in tight on the blocks,” she added. “He’s playing great, playing absolutely great.”
Having a solid team behind him helps, Van Eekeren said.
“He feels more confident swinging because he’s got a team that’s covering him,” she said. “We have a great group of kids who are playing well together and playing as a team, and that’s what you need and that’s what you want going into playoffs.”
And with a player like Wehrli providing some highlight reel kills, there’s no telling how high Benet can fly come tournament time.