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Boys Volleyball: Oak Forest overpowers Richards

Updated: May 8, 2014 9:45PM



The stakes were elevated Thursday with two of biggest hitters from the South Suburban Conference going head to head.

While Jeff Sprayberry aimed to maintain Oak Forest’s undefeated run in conference, Ed Karalius and Richards hoped to stay in the hunt for the Bulldogs’ third straight South Suburban crown.

Oak Forest was too much.

Sprayberry blasted 15 kills, setting Oak Forest’s single-season kill record, as the Bengals downed Richards 25-20, 25-18 in Oak Lawn.

“It’s unbelievable,” Sprayberry said. “I wasn’t sure I could beat the record, but with nine matches to go, I’m going to keep striving for more.”

Sprayberry, a King University (Bristol, Tenn.) recruit, has 295 kills and is on pace for nearly 400.

“It’s great to see a kid dedicate his life to a sport and have it pay off for him,” Oak Forest coach Lee Rucinski said. “Three years ago, college volleyball was the furthest thing from his mind.”

Dylan Ross had two kills, three aces and two blocks and Jake Olson added three aces for Oak Forest (18-8, 4-0), which also received 19 assists from Brett Staehlin.

Karalius — Sprayberry’s club teammate — finished with nine kills, three blocks and an ace for Richards (16-6, 3-2). Eric Krasich contributed 11 digs and his twin brother, Danny, had 21 assists.

“(Karalius) put up a lot of good hits,” Sprayberry said. “He’s always been like that in club with me. We knew we had to take care of them if we wanted conference.”

Oak Forest led from start to finish in the Set 1, taking an early 10-point lead on a kill from Olson.

Set 2 featured 10 ties and six lead changes, but Oak Forest closed it out on an 8-1 surge behind three kills from Sprayberry and two aces from Olson. The Bengals had five aces in the second set.

“To me, that’s the difference in the game: They served tough, we served average,” Richards coach Troy Grevengoed said. “They have three, four tough servers and they broke us down.”

With wins over Richards and Eisenhower, Oak Forest is now in the driver’s seat in the race for the South Suburban title.

Mike Walt contributed four kills for Richards, which had won the last two conference championships.



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