Boys Volleyball: Palos Courts league a primer for spring success
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media July 24, 2012 8:28PM
Richards' Dan Krasich (1) and Jack Kendryna (11). | File photo
Palos Courts Boys Summer Volleyball League
Brother Rice Varsity (7-2)
Oak Forest (5-3)
Oak Lawn (5-4)
Brother Rice JV (3-6)
T.F. North (0-9)
Brother Rice Varsity vs. Eisenhower,
6 p.m. Wednesday
Oak Forest vs. Richards,
6 p.m. Wednesday
Stagg vs. Oak Lawn,
7 p.m. Wednesday
Andrew vs. Marist
7 p.m. Wednesday
8 p.m. Wednesday
9 p.m. Wednesday
Updated: August 26, 2012 6:07AM
Heading into his senior season, Richards’ Jack Kendryna knows that success in the summer league does not guarantee success in the high school season.
But as the Bulldogs saw last season, it sure doesn’t hurt, either.
“(Winning at the summer league), it helps build a lot of confidence,” Kendryna said. “Most of the teams here, in conference or out, we will play at some point during the season. That confidence is there when you play these teams again.”
Richards is one of 11 Southland schools fielding teams in the Palos Courts Boys Summer League. Playoffs begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday, with the championship scheduled for 9 p.m.
Last summer, Richards won the Palos title. With a team that featured just two seniors, the summer success allowed a young group of players to jell.
During the spring season, the Bulldogs went 25-7 and rolled through the South Suburban Conference, winning all 16 of their matches to take the title. Richards loses Jeremy Norton, who was second on the team in kills, but figures to return the core of the 25-win team including middle Kendryna, outside Nick Costa, setter Dan Krasich, right side Ben Tocila and middle Edvinas Karalius.
“We’re trying to figure out where we’re at,” Kendryna said. “We lost some seniors, and we want to see what players can step up into those roles.”
Step up for Marist’s Frigo
When Marist coach Bob St. Leger left to take the same position at Wheaton North, the vacancy on the sideline was not open for long.
A boys varsity assistant for the past six years, Jodi Frigo was named RedHawks head coach in early July as the Palos league started up. Her goals were as straightforward as possible.
“I really want to make our new seniors take on a leadership role where they’re teaching the guys under them that this is their program,” Frigo said. “This is how we want things run and set a standard for the program. I’ve let the seniors start taking charge and show what they expect from the younger athletes.”
As for the summer league matches, Frigo doesn’t place too much importance on win-loss records.
“You just hope to introduce that junior group to the seniors,” Frigo said. “You’re looking for them to get to know each other and adapting them to a higher level of play.”
Brother Rice looks to build on state
Losing a senior class that featured five players who saw significant court time, Brother Rice is looking to build a starting lineup around three expected key starters.
Senior-to-be Ryan Paull, a 6-foot-7 middle, and two incoming juniors, 6-4 outside Mitch Weiler and 6-3 middle Kevin Myren, all were key contributors on the Crusaders’ team that was upended in the state quarterfinals.
What is coach Br. Paul Ickes looking for out of the summer experience? Stand out from the group, develop skills and get used to the varsity level.
“It’s an opportunity to play some people in different positions, and for the younger kids, just getting them acclimated to high school,” Ickes said. “A lot of them have played three or four years of grade school ball and know the positioning, but it’s something as simple as getting used to the higher nets.”