Lopez, Siska work together for SXU men’s volleyball team
BY STEVE MILLAR Correspondent February 26, 2014 1:15AM
Lopez | Supplied photo
Moving into the starting setter’s role as a freshman on St. Xavier University’s men’s volleyball team, Oak Lawn native Moises Lopez couldn’t ask for a better situation.
Lopez has a mentor in fellow Oak Lawn Community High School alum Jacob Siska. A Hometown native, Siska is a senior who has played setter out of necessity in the past for the Cougars, and he has been eager to show Lopez the ropes when it comes to college volleyball.
“It’s benefited me a lot having him to help me out,” Lopez said. “He watches me play and helps me correct mistakes and helps me get better.”
Siska, meanwhile, harbors no resentment over losing the position. He began the season at setter while Lopez got his feet wet but has moved to the right-side hitter spot.
“I’m not a natural setter,” Siska said. “I didn’t grow up playing the position. I was happy to fill in and play where I was needed, but now I’m back at a more comfortable position. I’ve always been a hitter. Having Moises step up and play well definitely makes things easier for me.”
Siska’s biggest tip for Lopez is something that will benefit Siska as well: Keep the hitters happy.
“As a setter, my main goal every time I set the ball is to see where my hitters want it, where they like the ball and then put it there,” he said. “I told Moises that if he can do that, it’ll help the whole team.
“There was a few-week period where I saw change in him. I saw him coming into his own. I knew he’d be a great setter.”
Lopez said having Siska as a hitter is also a big boost for the squad.
“We’ve seen an overall improvement for our team lately,” he said. “Having Jake on the right side really makes us stronger on that side.”
The pair are hoping to help the Cougars turn their season around. St. Xavier won just one of its first 11 matches.
“We’ve played a lot of top teams and have lost some close matches where we were only a set away,” Siska said. “We feel like there’s not a lot separating us from the top teams and we can turn it around and get some wins.”
Lopez, who had 37 assists in the team’s win over Siena Heights (Mich.), is happy to be on the court after watching Siska man the setter position through the early portion of the season.
“It didn’t really bother me that I wasn’t getting much playing time,” he said. “In high school, I rode the bench my sophomore season. But I’m happy to be in there and I want to help my team.”
Siska, meanwhile, is hoping to conclude his career in style.
“I want to leave behind something the younger guys will remember,” he said. “I don’t want them to forget me in a couple of years. Hopefully I can pass down some knowledge that they’ll still be using when they’re the seniors.”