St Rita impresses in win over Mount CarmelMt. Carmel's Matt Walsh goes up for a kill against St. Rita's Erik Landstrom and John Johnson during their volleyball game Thursday, April 19, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 19, 2012 9:44PM
St. Rita coach Ryan Biros said he was surprised Thursday by his team’s performance.
Visiting Catholic League rival Mount Carmel, it was a pleasant surprise.
Playing without star middle Tommy Stark, the Mustangs combined a balanced attack and strong net play for a convincing 25-15, 25-19 win.
“I hate to say it but I was surprised,” Biros said. “Some of the guys were worried about stepping up into Tommy’s shoes, but I was happily surprised. The guys really stepped up.”
Tom McDermott (21 assists, 3 blocks), Billy White (7 kills, 3 blocks), Kevin Banky (5 kills) and John Johnson (4 kills) led St. Rita (10-7, 2-2) in the Catholic League Blue win.
Garrett McGarry (7 kills, 2 blocks) and Dominic Villa (13 assists) paced Mount Carmel (10-8, 1-4).
Picking up the slack with Stark out, the Mustangs dominated at the net in both games, totaling 13 blocks.
“Tommy’s our No. 1 middle and probably our best hitter too,” McDermott said. “The balance (offensively) is really going to help because we’ve got backups. Most of the guys play club and that helps playing year-round.”
Blocks from White and McDermott helped St. Rita pull away in Game 1. The Mustangs closed on a 15-5 run.
Four unforced errors slowed St. Rita’s start in the second game as the Caravan went up 5-3.
McDermott then came through with two huge blocks and Banky added two kills as part of an 8-1 stretch that included a 6-0 run.
“It wasn’t one person filling in for Tommy,” Biros said. “It was everybody.”
Mount Carmel was without its star middle, Bobby Walsh, who rested with a back injury.
“We need other guys to step up, and we hope they can,” Mount Carmel coach Marco Quintana said. “They’ve trained for it so they’re ready. That’s what we’re working on, that consistency.”