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Tourney play to prep RB for run at regional title

Riverside Brookfield's Jack Gibson spikes the ball against Morton Thursday in Riverside. Matthew Piechalak — mpiechalak@shawmedia.com
Riverside Brookfield's Jack Gibson spikes the ball against Morton Thursday in Riverside. Matthew Piechalak — mpiechalak@shawmedia.com

RIVERSIDE — Without a conference to play in, Riverside Brookfield’s boys volleyball regular season success is based more around tournaments and setting itself up with a nice seed for the playoffs.

After beating Morton 28-26, 25-23 in the season opener on Thursday, the Bulldogs went 3-2 at the Joliet West Invite on Saturday. It was the first of three tournaments RB will compete in this season.

Ask some RB players about their goals for the season and doing well in these tournaments is right at the top of the list.

“I’d like to compete in tournaments,” said senior outside hitter Jack Gibson. “We don’t have a conference so we can’t win conference. Last year it was kind of disappointing losing to St. Rita in the regional championship so we want to get back there and try to get a regional championship.”

“We’re going to be playing some big teams in some tournaments,” said senior Tim Thor-Larsen.

Thor-Larsen is a 6-foot-4 middle hitter that is a first-year starter for the varsity team. He had eight kills and three blocks in the win over Morton. The Mustangs had two game points in Game 1, but couldn’t close the deal. Thor-Larsen had kills on the final two points of the game.

“Every time it’s a close game everyone gets kind of rattled so we have to pay attention,” Thor-Larsen said. “Last season we had a lot of close ones, but usually our team comes through.”

At Joliet West, the Bulldogs lost to host Joliet West in the opener, but rallied with wins over Lemont, St. Ignatius and Joliet Catholic to reach the final. There, RB fell to Metea Valley 25-18, 25-20.

“I have high expectations,” said coach Dan Bonarigo. “We did well, but I think we’ve got more work.”

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