Boys Volleyball: Brother Rice smacks home victory
Four-year starter Mitch Weiler and his Brother Rice teammates hoped to give coach Brother Paul Ickes a proper sendoff at the Brother Rice Smack Attack.
Call it a bulls-eye for the Crusaders.
Weiler nabbed MVP honors and Brother Rice topped Naperville Central 25-21, 25-23 Saturday at St. Xavier for the program’s first ever Smack Attack title.
Ickes, the first coach in Illinois to reach the 500-win milestone, is slated to retire at the end of the season. He’s the only head coach in program history.
“We have a great team this year and to win this for him is just amazing,” said Weiler, a Ball State recruit who finished with seven kills against Naperville Central. “We started out a little slow, but we regrouped and came back. It was a special day for Brother Ickes.”
Kevin Myren added seven kills, Dan Dwyer dished 22 assists, and Matt Gagner came up huge in a starting role for the Crusaders (19-2) with four kills and five aces.
“I’d be so much more happy but I’m just so tired from running the tournament,” Ickes said jokingly. “It’s another great way to go out with these guys.”
Jack Burton led Naperville Central (19-3) with 11 kills. Kascper Mazurek contributed six kills and Michael Timmerberg had five.
Central led 15-12 after a Rice attack error in Set 1, but a Myren kill and three-straight aces from Gagner swung the momentum and gave the Crusaders a 16-15 advantage.
“Truth is, this is the best serving I’ve ever done my whole entire career,” Gagner said.
Rice downed Glenbard West to reach the 24-team championship while Naperville Central upset top-seeded Lincoln-Way North, becoming just the fourth team to defeat the Phoenix since the start of 2013.
“You work so hard to get to the final, and then you think it’s just going to be there, and it’s not just going to be there,” Naperville Central coach Roger Strausberger said.
Lincoln-Way North (19-2) rebounded to top Glenbard West in three sets for third place. The Hilltoppers (15-3) start four sophomores and should be a force moving forward for coach Christine Mayer.
St. Francis topped Glenbrook North for fifth and Marist topped Payton for seventh to round out the Gold Division.
Chesterton (Ind.) beat Warren for ninth and Lincoln-Way Central took out St. Patrick for 11th in the Silver bracket.