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Boys volleyball previews: Kostich leads LT, returning starters key Morton, RB

Published: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 2:00 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, July 25, 2014 4:33 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Shaw Media file photo)
Riverside Brookfield's Danny Nava (left) sets the ball in a match last season. Nava is back as a setter for an RB team looking to sustain its recent success.
Caption
(Shaw Media file photo)
Morton's Andres Guerrero (left) sets the ball in a match last season. Guerrero is back for the Mustangs this season as their primary setter.
Caption
(Shaw Media file photo)
Lyons Township's Kevin Bartman returns a serve in a match last year. Bartman is one of several experienced players returning for the Lions this season.

Volleyball is one sport immune to bad spring weather. High school boys teams get started next week so here's a look at what to watch for in the area.

Lyons Township Lions

Coach: Joann Pyritz

2013 record: 29-4

Top players:

Michael Dean sr. OH

Marko Kostich sr. S

Rob Watkins sr. RS

Outlook:

The Lyons had a successful season in every way last year except for the playoffs. After winning the West Suburban Silver and earning a top sectional seed the Lions went out in a regional final.

Enough of that team is back to expect big things again. Senior setter Marko Kostich is headed to play at Harvard after scoring a 36 on his ACT. Returning starters Michael Dean and Rob Watkins also give the team plenty of experience.

Fellow seniors middle hitter Noah Carroll, setter Jack Bobrowski, outside hitter Kevin Bartman and defensive specialists Michael Gay and Andrew Cook are also varsity returners. Juniors Marshall McElvogue and Jake Suva move up to varsity full time after seeing minimal action up with the team last year.

"Having achieved the conference championship and numerous top finishes at tournaments last year, we will push to achieve similar [showings] in 2014," coach Joann Pyritz said.

Pyritz mentioned York, Glenbard West and Downers Grove North as the top competition in the way of an LT repeat in the Silver.

Morton Mustangs

Coach: Tony Hornilla

Top players:

Adrian Barrera jr. L

Jesus Ceja sr. OH

Andres Guerrero jr. S

Outlook:

The Mustangs were able to win a regional last year despite fielding a young roster. Now, with most of that team back, hopes are higher.

Morton had seven sophomores on the varsity roster last year and is looking to surpass last year's success with a more experienced group.

Riverside Brookfield Bulldogs

Coach: Dan Bonarigo

2013 record: 25-12

Top players:

Mike Chaney sr. OH

Vince Garcia sr. MH

Danny Nava sr. S

Outlook:

The Bulldogs expect to be a competitive team once again after winning 25 matches last year.

Setter Danny Nava is back as a starter along with Mike Chaney, who started the majority of last season as an outside hitter.

Including Nava and Chaney, the Bulldogs are expected to have key contributions from a number of seniors. Coach Dan Bonarigo praised 6-foot-3 senior middle hitter Vince Garcia. Fellow senior Pablo Garcia, no relation to Vince, will contribute at both middle and outside positions. Another senior, Nick Green, the younger brother of former standout setter Rich Green, will be the Bulldogs' defensive leader.

Ben Brondos, a senior who missed last season with an injury, is expected to play a big role as a setter and outside hitter.

Juniors Bobby Peugh, David Wackrow and Zach Paisker could also see plenty of action.

The Bulldogs are still without a conference since the Metro Suburban Conference only fields three boys volleyball teams, but this should be the last year of RB's nomadic era with St. Edward and Wheaton Academy joining the MSC next year with boys volleyball teams.

"Once again, we hope to be a tough defensive team that extends rallies in order to outlast our opponents," Bonarigo said.

Nazareth Roadrunners

Coach: Thomas Maleskey

2013 record: 12-16-3

Top players:

Austin Brown sr. OH

Will Cullen sr. OH/MH

Dan Gregor so. OH

Steve Patchek sr. DS

Brady Ryan jr. S

Outlook:

The Roadrunners return most of a team that won 12 matches, including the IMSA Invite, last year.

Dan Gregor, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, returns after joining the varsity team midway through last season. Seniors Austin Brown, Will Cullen and Steve Patchek should see bigger roles along with junior Brady Ryan.

Fenwick Friars

Coach: Kate Whitman

Top players:

Joey McAuley sr. S

Outlook:

The Friars lost a three-set match in a regional final last year and return all-conference setter Joey McAuley.

Fenwick won the Chicago Catholic League White for the third year in a row last season. McAuley will need some new weapons to set to after hitter George Cokinis, the CCL White player of the year, graduated.

The Friars open at Mount Carmel on April 7 and have other non-conference matches against Riverside Brookfield and York also on the schedule.

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