Boys Volleyball: Brother Rice tops Sandburg
By Logan Malloy For Sun-Times Media April 2, 2014 8:28PM
Mitch Weiler, of Brother Rice, goes up for the kill against Sandburg at Brother Rice, Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014 in Chicago | Gary Middendorf/for Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 5, 2014 8:32AM
There was no jet lag for Brother Rice.
After becoming the first team outside of Hawaii or California to win the Hawaii Varsity Invitational, the Crusaders hit Sandburg with the afterburners Wednesday night for a 25-13, 25-23 victory over Sandburg in a clash of Southland powers.
Ball State-bound Mitch Weiler showed why he’s considered one of the best outside hitters in the state, racking up 14 kills on a variety of shots for Brother Rice. Jim Dwyer added 18 assists and David Kelly had 17 digs for the Crusaders (6-0).
“He makes it look so easy,” Brother Rice coach Paul Ickes said of the 6-foot-4 Weiler. “He’s just an incredible player. He sees a block, he knows where to put a shot ... and he doesn’t make many mistakes, either.”
Mistakes were few for the Crusaders, especially in the first set as they took 8-4 and 19-9 leads on kills from Kevin Myren (4 kills).
“We just have it together right now,” Weiler said. “We didn’t have a lot of kids try out this year, but we have enough.”
Like Brother Rice, Sandburg (5-1) entered the contest with a tournament title — the Buffalo Grove Bison Battle — under its belt. But Sandburg couldn’t match the Crusaders’ methodical play.
“I think they’re an elite team,” Sandburg coach Sean Airola said of Brother Rice. “They came out firing right out of the get-go.”
Dan Tynski put down nine kills, Paul Chmura had seven and Ian Zalewski distributed 18 assists for the Eagles.
Sandburg trailed 14-9 in Set 2 after Rice’s Matt Gagner notched a kill, but Tynski catalyzed a 4-0 run with two kills that seemed to energize the Eagles’ bench.
“Dan gives us a spark on a daily basis,” Airola said. “He works extremely hard and is growing as a player. We just didn’t come out to play.”
Sandburg took an 18-17 lead on a kill by Chmura, but Weiler answered by going cross court on the next play, scoring five kills in an 11 point-span to help to close the match.
“Since this is (Ickes’) last year, it’s a motivator for us to get him to state and win a championship,” Weiler said. “We just want to help him out in any way possible.”