DOWNERS GROVE — Setters are the lifeblood for a volleyball team. They touch the ball nearly every time the ball comes over the net and are responsible for distributing their team’s attack.
Lyons Township junior Marko Kostich has reveled in this role during the Lions’ strong start to the season. As a varsity returner and the team’s setter, Kostich has been a leader on the team despite not being a senior.
“Regardless of how old you are if you’re the setter you have to have some control of your team, especially emotional control,” Kostich said. “I feel like I’m getting a lot better at that this year with an older group of guys.”
Kostich helped the Lions make the final of Downers Grove South’s Mustang Invitational over the weekend. LT, seeded fourth in the 24-team tournament, swept Stagg and Joliet Central in pool play on Friday and did the same to Naperville North and Oak Park-River Forest to advance in the gold bracket on Saturday.
LT took the first game of the final against New Trier 25-19 and led late in the second game, but couldn't hold on.
LT is 14-2 with quality wins over Lake Park (twice) and Downers Grove North. The 25-23, 25-21 win over previously undefeated DGN on Tuesday was huge in the West Suburban Silver. The Lions are 3-0 in the Silver with matches against Glenbard West, Hinsdale Central and Oak Park River Forest still ahead.
“I think a lot of our guys have stepped up and really worked hard in the offseason and in club season to make sure we’d be at this level,” said senior libero Dom Faust. “We lost one of our big pieces early on in Ryan Temple, one of our middles, but Gabe Fisher has really stepped up as our second middle. Marko Kostich is obviously playing some great ball right now. Clayton Smentek is playing great on the outside.”
The Lions have plenty of height to help make Kostich look good. Smentek and Aiden Spangler are both 6-foot-4 and Fisher is 6-foot-7.