Boys Volleyball: WW South tops upstart Richards in tournament final
Updated: May 12, 2012 6:29PM
Richards coach Troy Grevengoed could not remember the last time the Bulldogs reached the championship match of their own tournament.
“It might have been ’92,” he said, referring to the year the Bulldogs went 41-0 and won the state title under legendary coach Faralyn Jaquith, who won both girls and boys state titles at Richards. “I have been here nine years and the best we’ve done is get into the top five.”
Richards (21-6) took out No. 7 Downers Grove North Friday in pool play, then rallied from a 14-11 deficit in Game 2 of a 25-23, 25-22 victory over Lyons in the semifinals to advance to the title match Saturday against top-ranked Wheaton Warrenville South.
The result was not terribly surprising — the No. 1-ranked Tigers won 25-9, 25-13, their 33rd win without a loss — but the loss did not diminish the host school’s achievement in reaching the title match.
“I’m kind of speechless,” said Richards’ 6-foot junior outside Nick Costa. “We played phenomenal. It was a good tournament for us. It boosts our confidence a lot. We played OK teams coming into this tournament. Then stepping up a level, it’s just a different type of game.”
Costa is one of seven non-seniors on the Richards’ nine-man roster.
“It’s quality over quantity,” he said. “A lot of us have been in the program for a while, we’ve played summer ball together and we just been growing as a team since then. Next year, we only lose two people, so we should be pretty good again.”
Costa and senior Jeremy Norton combined for just seven kills in the championship, but both outside hitters had big games in the quarterfinal against Warren (16-15) and the semifinal win over Lyons (18-12).
“It’s great to have that leadership from both outsides,” Grevengoed said. “Jeremy is a difficult player to play against. He’ll hit a tip or a roll or a crazy line shot. Then he’ll serve really hard. You never know what he’s going to do. Both those guys on the outside really set us up.”
Richards’ 5-8 sophomore setter Dan Krasich, who had nine assists in the championship match, is only in his second year of organized ball.
“He is really progressing,” Grevengoed said. “He almost came up with a huge block against Lyons. He wanted that bad. His timing is getting there. He’s getting a lot of touches against those big hitters. That would have been big for Danny.
“The last three days, every time they play they get more and more confident,” the coach added. “They’re doing things they weren’t doing a month ago. They’re getting better every day, and that’s all that matters.”
Thomas Jaeschke had five kills and five aces for WW South, which also got four kills and two blocks from Matt Nussbaum, 15 assists and two aces from Kit Bruzek, and kills from reserves Jared Chandler, Nick Campos, Jared Wilcox and Greg Vlassov.
“It was great to get some of the other guys in at the finish,” Bruzek said. “They work real hard in practice and that’s why we’re here right now, because they always push us in practice. It’s always good to see when they get in.”
WW South advanced to the finals by defeating Downers Grove North 25-17, 25-17 and Brother Rice 25-10, 25-18. The Tigers improved to 66-1 in games and have not dropped a set since March 24.
How do the Tigers continue to push themselves?
“June 2 (the final day of the state tournament), that’s pretty much it,” Bruzek said. “We just continue to strive and take it game by game. We don’t really look ahead too much, but we know that’s in the back of our minds so we just kind of push until that day.”