Boys Volleyball: Brother Rice’s state trip a touchy subject
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media May 31, 2012 8:42PM
Brother Rice's Joe Pochinskas returns a serve vs. Lincoln-Way East. | Larry Kane~For Sun-Times Media
Boys State Volleyball
(All matches at Hoffman Estates High School)
Brother Rice vs. Glenbrook North, 1 p.m.
Minooka vs. St. Rita, 2 p.m.
Payton vs. Wheaton Warrenville South, 5 p.m.
Barrington vs. Lake Park, 6 p.m.
Semifinals: 10 and 11 a.m. Saturday
Third place: 4 p.m. Saturday
Championship: 5:15 p.m. Saturday
Updated: July 6, 2012 9:51AM
Awaiting their Friday state volleyball quarterfinal, Brother Rice coach Brother Paul Ickes and his team stand three matches away from the program’s first state title.
The Crusaders know the cliche: Just take it one match at a time.
Ickes has adjusted the formula.
“With expectations, we go one touch at a time, and that seems to work with this crew,” Ickes said. “We’re not going to change any of that.”
Making the program’s fifth appearance at the state tournament, Brother Rice plays Glenbrook North at 1 p.m. Friday at Hoffman Estates High School.
Glenbrook North (35-3) defeated rival Glenbrook South 25-17, 25-16 to win its own sectional title. Only two teams have beaten North this season, as the state’s top-ranked team, Wheaton Warrenville South, accounts for two of the losses.
The other squad?
That would be Brother Rice, a three-game winner over Glenbrook North in early May. A month removed, Ickes isn’t putting much stock in the win.
Brother Rice (28-12) defeated Lincoln-Way East in three games in its sectional title game, avenging a season-opening loss to the Griffins.
“We’re at state, and let’s do this,” Ickes said. “Lincoln-Way East beat us earlier in the season (and we beat them) so it’s anyone’s tournament at this point.”
The state quarterfinal match-up will be one with two balanced offensive teams. North is led by Luke Jacobson and setter Kyle Bedford. The Spartans also feature hitters Patrick Bedford and Brian O’Keefe.
Brother Rice can counter with a similarly even attack. Setter Dan Dwyer has sophomore star Mitch Weiler, Joe Pochinskas, Mike Carroll and Matt Kill on the outside with Ryan Paull and Kevin Myren manning the middle as blockers. Cody Leahy has been steady all season at libero.
Through the early portions of the season, a berth in the state quarterfinals would have seemed unlikely for the Crusaders, who had an 11-11 record through 22 matches.
Brother Rice snapped out of those struggles to win 17 of 18 matches heading into Friday’s quarterfinal. The Crusaders defeated rival Marist for the regional title, then upset the top-seeded teams at the sectional, Lincoln-Way North in the semis and host Lincoln-Way East in the championship.
Weiler does not think the team will have too many butterflies come Friday.
“I don’t think we should be nervous (at state),” Weiler said. “We’ve already played Glenbrook North, and we came out ready to play. We know who they are, and we’re really happy to be going to state this year.”