LEMONT — Returning virtually its entire roster from a year ago, the Lemont boys volleyball team has the parts in place to make a significant jump this spring.
"I think we have a solid squad this season," said Lemont coach Zach Splitt, who is in his second year at the helm. "Right now we have all the pieces of a successful team. The trick will be finding the best fit for those pieces."
The Indians bring back all of their starters, including outside hitter Michael Krueger, middle hitter Alex Wontorczyk and setter Ryan Leadley.
"We should be very competitive," said Splitt, who played for Naperville North High School and later at Quincy University. "We have much higher expectations this year but those are tempered by our record last year."
One focal point will be an improved showing within the South Suburban Conference. Lemont was 3-13 in the competitive league in 2012. The Indians did win their first IHSA regional match in program history last year and hope to build on that.
"Our goal this year is to expand on that accomplishment," the coach said. "Advancing within regionals and hopefully making a run at winning our regional is our ultimate goal. While it is a lofty goal, it is nevertheless what we are aiming for.
"We are also shooting to finish in the top half of our conference this year. Finishing towards the bottom of the barrel is not satisfactory for this group, so we are setting our sights higher."
To reach their goals, Lemont most needs to improve its ball control.
"We have a number of good offensive weapons," Splitt said. "We just have to be able to get the ball to them."
A further boost should come now that the team is familiar with Splitt's system.
"I'm excited," he said. "Last year, being my first (high school) head coaching job, and getting to know the guys and the school, it was like a courtship period. I know the guys this year and they know what to expect.
"There has already been a heightened level of intensity from them and from me. They know what the expectations are and they will rise to the challenge I think."
In another piece of encouraging news, this is the first year Lemont will field teams at all three levels — freshman, sophomore and varsity.