Boys Volleyball: Lyons Township looking for setting help
Updated: March 19, 2012 8:12PM
The West Suburban Conference Silver Division sent two teams to the state quarterfinals last season, but Lyons Township wasn’t one of them.
Glenbard West and Oak Park-River Forest proved to be the conference’s best with trips to Hoffman Estates for the state tournament. OPRF lost in the quarterfinals to Naperville North and Glenbard West finished fourth to earn its first state trophy since the program began nearly a decade ago.
LT is seeking its first trip to the state tournament since taking fourth in 2005.
“The senior class is ready to go; having had a successful club season,” LT coach Joann Pyritz said. “We should be at the top of the conference.”
Wheaton Warrenville South defeated LT 25-14, 25-17 in last year’s regional final. The defeat was just the second regional loss for LT since 2001.
LT returns one main offensive weapon, 6-foot-7 senior middle hitter Jason Dolinski, as well as senior libero Jack Murphy and defensive specialist John Peterson from a squad that started the season by taking third place in the Conant Invitational.
The Lions (22-15 last season, 3-3 conference) open the season again at Conant with the one-day tournament starting at 4:30 p.m. Friday. LT started last season with a 9-8 record, 1-2 in the Silver, but picked up the pace in the second half of the season. Pyritz has dropped out of the late-season Deerfield Invitational this year to compete in an invitational at Richards May 11-12.
Dolinski ended last season with 116 kills and 30 blocks. Kevin McMahon, a senior outside hitter, was a part-time varsity starter and had 77 kills. The duo will need to produce to help offset the losses to graduation from outside hitters Mark Hogan and Jack O’Malley.
Murphy (93 digs) and Peterson (84 digs) are veteran passers to solidify the defense.
“Jason Dolinski will dominate the net with his ability to play middle and outside and Kevin McMahon will lead the charge outside,” Pyritz said. “Peterson and Murphy are consistent passers and will assist on defense.”
McMahon was one of seven LT players to compete with the Western Springs-based Third Coast Elite club in the offseason. McMahon’s 18s team did not qualify for the USA Junior Nationals.
“Last year, I did not play (varsity) until the end of the year,” McMahon said. “I’ve been looking forward to this season very much.”
During the offseason, McMahon said he worked on his serving and passing from the back row. He knows he will have to play a full rotation now that he’s starting under Pyritz.
The biggest question mark is finding a replacement for setter Jack Gouty, who graduated. Last year’s backup was junior Mike Pajkos. The other candidates include Marco Kostich, Peterson and Clayton Smentek.
Glenbard West (29-8 last season) will be favored to win the Silver behind 6-7 Ian Lawson (375 kills) and setter Alex Emanuel (620 assists). Glenbard West’s only conference loss last season came against Downers Grove North.