Boys Volleyball: Thomas Jaeschke, Kyle and Pat Bedford lead the Sun-Times All-Area team

Story Image Sun-Times All-Area boys volleyball team: Back row, Left to right, Tim Shenkin, senior, Glenbard East; Thomas Jaeschke, senior, Wheaton Warrenville South; Spencer Sauter, senior, Naperville North; Ian Lawson, senior, Genbard West; Matt Callaway, senior, Wheaton Warrenville South; and JP Tulacka, senior, Downers Grove North. Front Row, left to right: Kyle Bedford, senior, Glenbrook North; Ryan McFarland, senior, Lincoln-Way North; Scott Fifer, senior, Sandburg; Nate Royer, senior, Lincoln-Way East; and Patrick Bedford, senior, Glenbrook North. | Dom Najolia~Sun-Times

Updated: May 30, 2012 10:01PM



Led by Loyola recruit and Sun-Times Player of the Year Thomas Jaeschke of Wheaton Warrenville South, the 2012 Sun-Times All-Area Boys Volleyball team represents some of the best talent to ever grace the Chicago area.

The third and fourth and final Bedford siblings to play volleyball at Glenbrook North, twins Kyle and Pat Bedford, led the Spartans to a 32-3 regular-season record and tournament titles at Brother Rice and Glenbrook North. They are key parts of one of only two teams to take a set off WW South this season.

Kyle Bedford led the Spartans with 866 assists during the regular season, was second with 126 digs and 26 aces and named all-tournament at WW South and Buffalo Grove. Pat Bedford led the Spartans with 297 kills and 47 aces, passed a 2.5 and was named MVP of the Brother Rice Smack Attack.

“Kyle and Pat have won the conference at every level and have helped our varsity win more than 60 matches the past two seasons,” coach Chris Cooper said. “We have five guys with 100 kills or more and this is because both Pat and Kyle understand that the team’s success is every bit as important as their own.

“I have been lucky to have had four Bedford siblings play volleyball, and Kyle and Pat have certainly put an exclamation point at the end of the family’s long and very successful history at Glenbrook North,” the coach added.

WW South’s Matt Callaway is one of three area players who are part of the great Penn State migration next fall. During the regular season, the 6-8 middle hitter had 179 kills, 75 solo blocks, 20 aces, 43 digs and an off-the-charts .565 kill percentage while playing out of position.

“Matt is a great middle hitter although he is an opposite by nature,” coach Bill Schreier said. “He has the ability to hit the high ball as well as the quick sets. He is incredibly athletic, and that allows him to get to blocks and balls that others don’t normally get to.”

Physical ability-wise, there is nothing average about Sandburg’s Scott Fifer. Not only is the 6-2 senior an outstanding setter, he is also the Eagles’ best outside hitter. He compiled 355 assists, 131 kills and 62 blocks during the regular season.

“Scott possesses superior talent when it comes to setting,” coach Sean Airola said. “His hitter options, his court sense and character all make Scott a valuable setter to any team. Scott’s footwork and ball placement is something that every team notices.”

Everybody notices Glenbard West outside hitter Ian Lawson. At a powerfully-built 6-7, he’s hard to miss. A threat from anywhere on the court, Lawson amassed more than 300 kills, 36 aces, 68 blocks and 789 digs during the regular season.

“Ian is explosive, so fun to watch and so hard to stop,” coach Christine Giunta-Mayer said. “He is an amazing player with a great sense of humor. Ian has set the example for our school that hard work, dedication, commitment and love of the game can take you anywhere you want to go.”

Lincoln-Way North’s fledgling varsity volleyball program battled its way into the upper echelon of state powers, and one of the biggest reasons was the emergence of Ryan McFarland. His leadership, court awareness and better than 7 assists per game led the Phoenix to a 31-4 regular-season record.

“Ryan has improved on his set choices and location throughout his four years and has distributed the ball well to all of our hitters,” coach Matt Lawrence said. “He is a key reason for our success this season.”

There may never be another player like Nate Royer at Lincoln-Way East. One of the most athletic and heady outside hitters around, Royer compiled 269 kills, 32 blocks, 153 digs and 21 aces during the regular season, and set a school record with 22 kills in a sectional semifinal against Sandburg.

“Nate is the most complete volleyball player that I have ever had the luxury to coach,” coach Kris Fiore said. “He was able to reach this elite level of play by being the hardest worker in the gym day in and day out.”

Work ethic and drive are two traits common to another Penn State-bound player from the Chicago area, Naperville North’s Spencer Sauter. The 6-7 outside hitter compiled 310 kills, 23 blocks, 147 digs and 32 aces for the Huskies, who finished in the top five at Downers South and Lincoln-Way East.

“Spencer has truly worked himself into one of the elite outside hitters in the country,” coach Nate Bornancin said. “His ability to hit a variety of shots off of a variety of tempos made him a threat out of every rotation. Spencer’s character and ability are irreplaceable.”

Glenbard East coach Marci Maier recited a litany of adjectives when asked to describe three-year starting setter/outside hitter Tim Shenkin, the Hope International University-bound senior who amassed 178 kills, 305 assists, 104 digs, 73 blocks and 16 aces during the regular season.

“A few words that best describe Tim are trustworthy, intellectual, confident, poised, patient, resourceful, passionate and reliable,” she said. “He is one of our most well-rounded student athletes. He leads by example and is a great role model.”

Although slowed by an ankle injury midway through the season, Downers Grove North’s 6-6 middle hitter and three-year starter JP Tulacka was nothing short of dominant when healthy. The team leader in serve reception average, he also had 172 kills (.437 efficiency) and 48 blocks for points.

“JP has had a great part in the success and turnaround of this program,” said coach Mark Wasik. “This year, as a result of his all-around ball control skills, he became a six-rotation player, atypical for a middle hitter. He will be missed next year.”

Volleyball will lose a potential superstar when Benet’s Bobby Wehrli opts to try to walk-on in basketball at Dayton next fall. The 6-5 outside hitter did just about everything for the Redwings with more than 320 kills (.425 kill efficiency), 126 digs and 25 blocks while passing at a 2.2 clip.

“Bobby is an exceptional athlete who has been a tremendous force for us,” coach Amy Van Eekeren said. “His powerful swings, consistent passing and aggressive jump-serves are impressive. His determination and incredible work ethic motivated our team to challenge ourselves.”

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