LA GRANGE – The postseason begins Tuesday and the Lyons Township boys volleyball team enters with high hopes and expectation after winning the West Suburban Silver title outright last week.
LT swept Oak Park-River Forest 25-23, 25-17 on May 21 to become the top dog in the Silver with a perfect 6-0 league record. The Lions finished the regular season 28-3 after beating St. Francis 25-15, 25-21 the following day.
“What’s great is we’re 6-0 in conference, but it also means we probably get a higher percentage of all-conference votes, which is a good thing for our seniors,” said LT coach Joann Pyritz.
The Lions had plenty of talent, but the trick was getting the numerous club players to jell on one team. Many of LT’s top players come from different clubs and had to put it all together during the short spring season.
“I knew that we were going to be pretty good this year,” Pyritz said. “I just wasn’t quite sure how we’d put it together. You never know how you’re going to put it together until they show up. We have kids that play at three different clubs and you still have to put together some of the development that’s occurred over the winter. Just the fact that they work as a cohesive group makes a difference.”
Junior setter Marko Kostich has been at the center of LT’s success. Kostich is a college-level talent that enters the busy portion of his recruitment soon after the high school season ends.
Any good setter needs weapons to work with though, and Kostich has had plenty. 6-foot-3 Kyle Smuda, 6-foot-7 Gabe Fisher, 6-foot-4 Aidan Spangler and 6-foot-4 Clayton Smentek have kept defenses on their toes. The variety of big hitters, all four are seniors, and 6-foot-3 Kostich allowed the Lions to dominate at the net.
“When we came through when we first started out we didn’t know we were going to be this good,” Smentek said. “As the season started to progress we realized we actually have a shot of being really good this year.”