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Downers Grove South volleyball starts title defense

Young Downers Grove North looking to gain experience quickly

Published: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 8:40 p.m. CDT
(Shaw Media file photo)
Downers Grove South's Jordan Pawlicki sets the ball in a match last season. The defending state champion Mustangs lost several seniors but also return key players, including Pawlicki.

Outdoor spring sports are at the mercy of Chicago’s fickle weather, but boys volleyball teams don’t have to worry about. Area teams started play in late March, but the season is still in the early stages. Here’s an outlook for local teams this spring.

Downers Grove North

Coach:Mark Wasik

2013 record: 24-13

Top players:

Nelson Baarstad sr. S

Colin Michels jr. L

Mike Mierzwa jr. OH

Jon Poortinga jr. MH

Tom Sarver sr. OH

Outlook: The 2-2 start the Trojans had to the season was an indication of some new faces in new places for the team. Nelson Baarstad, Mike Mierzwa and Tom Sarver were key contributors to varsity last spring, but much of the rest of the roster is being asked to play larger roles than before.

“We’re young and junior-heavy,” head coach Mark Wasik said. “We’re a pretty talented team, but our inexperience has reared its head.

“Nothing can really substitute for experience, so I believe we, like every team, will get better as the season goes on.”

Colin Michels is one player returning to varsity asked to play a bigger role this spring. Jon Poortinga is in the same category. Greg Carroll and Liam Reidy are also in the starting lineup for the Trojans.

The Schaumburg invite on Saturday and tournaments at Downers Grove South (April 25) and Richards (May 16 and 17) will help the Trojans’ growth. North’s own tourney (May 3) will also help.

“We’ll be tested in every single match; every match is the potential to grow and get better,” Wasik said.

Downers Grove South

Coach: Kurt Steuer

2013 record: 31-10

Top players:

Jordan Pawlicki sr. S

Mike Schmitt sr. OH

Will Tischler jr. OH

Tyler Zowaski sr. L

Outlook: The defending state champions lost a handful of seniors that were instrumental to winning the title, but the Mustangs have some good building blocks in place.

Mike Schmitt and Will Tischler were big contributors on the attack last season and have picked right up in their roles on offense.

Setter Jordan Pawlicki, who was named all-tournament at Wheaton Warrenville South this season, is also back to help lead the offense.

Defensively, libero Tyler Zowaski will be a linchpin in the back row this spring.

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