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Boys Volleyball: Eisenhower’s McCoy, Curta chip in for title

Updated: May 21, 2014 6:43AM



It didn’t take much to get Robert McCoy to try out for the Eisenhower volleyball team.

“One of our girl players saw that he had really good footwork in gym class,” Eisenhower coach Stan Natonek said, “so she offered him a bag of Flaming Hot Cheetos if he went to tryouts.”

“It was actually Doritos,” said McCoy, a dynamic 6-foot-5 junior.

Whatever it was, the Cardinals aren’t going hungry at the net thanks to athletic — albeit inexperienced — play from McCoy and Vinny Curta.

McCoy put down six kills and two blocks and Curta added seven kills as Eisenhower topped Illiana Christian 25-20, 25-23 in the championship of the eight-team Cardinal Invitational on Saturday.

While McCoy is playing in just his second season, Curta is playing for the first time since seventh grade. The two played basketball together in the winter and have helped fuel the Cardinals (11-3) to the best opening mark in program history.

“The first game was shaky for me, but just getting into it and working every day in practice has been building me up,” Curta said. “Everyone’s focused on teamwork and playing together. It’s been a lot of fun.”

Illiana Christian (3-5) was paced by Denny Murrin (5 kills) and Trevor Dekker (13 assists, 2 kills). The Vikings led nearly the entire second set after four straight aces from Murrin, but Eisenhower never lost its cool.

Kills from Khalil Williams and McCoy broke ties late in the match, the last of which gave Eisenhower a 24-23 lead. Jonathon Esparza followed with an ace to seal the victory.

“We didn’t panic at all,” Natonek said. “The boys were the ones reminding each other in the huddle of the game plan and what they had to do.”

Natonek said the unquestioned leaders are the team’s most experienced players: libero Alec Esparza and setter Lukasz Kupiec.

“Alec is a great libero,” McCoy said. “He’s one of our senior captains and does a really good of keeping the back row players passing.”

In the third-place match, Marian Catholic (5-11) ousted Lemont (3-8) in two sets, 25-15, 25-17. Marian coach Bob Piekarski said middle hitters Temitope Onayemi and Jake Piekarski turned in strong performances.



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