LOMBARD – The Riverside Brookfield boys volleyball team needed its best in the regional semifinal against Neuqua Valley.
The Bulldogs didn’t get it.
RB, the No. 14 seed in the especially deep Proviso West sectional, took on the No. 2 Wildcats on May 21 and weren’t able to pull off the upset. After a competitive start, Neuqua pulled away from the Bulldogs and won 25-15, 25-17.
“When you’re playing against the best you gotta have your best,” said RB coach Dan Bonarigo. “I think if we played our best we have a chance to win that match, but we didn’t have our best.”
RB, which defeated Hinsdale Central 25-23, 25-20 the day before in a regional quarterfinal, finished the season with a 25-12 record. It’s not the kind of record that usually comes with a No. 14 seed, but that was the way the sectional got divided up this year.
The Bulldogs typically are grouped with other Cook County schools like Morton, Fenwick and Oak Park-River Forest, but were moved and had an uphill battle in the playoffs. For comparison, Morton, a team RB defeated in the season opener is the No. 4 seed in the St. Rita sectional and won a regional title.
Bonarigo wasn’t about to make excuses for his team though.
“It was a great season volleyball-wise, but also, put the volleyball aside, off the court a great group of guys,” Bonarigo said. “They got along real well, no real personality conflicts or anything else. I was very happy with that. With this group if you’re 12-25 you still don’t mind being around them, which is good. That’s tough for a group of guys to conduct themselves in that way.”
Eight seniors leave the program. Jake Fieseler, Mitch Malloy, Scott LeBeau, Jack Gibson, Matthias Witteman, Tim Thor-Larsen, Mike Kosik and Paul Kraus closed their careers. Junior contributors Mike Chaney and setter Danny Nava will be the core of the team next year.