RIVERSIDE – The Riverside Brookfield boys volleyball team hasn’t been blessed with supreme amounts of height or talent for much of coach Dan Bonarigo’s coaching tenure, but the Bulldogs have prided themselves on solid defense and avoiding mistakes.
So far, that formula hasn’t been working for the Bulldogs and it’s showing in the win column. RB is off to an uncharacteristic 3-11 start. They lost their home opener 25-17, 25-18 to Leyden on Thursday.
It wasn’t the loss that frustrated Bonarigo so much as how it happened. RB was tied at 16-16 in the first game before losing nine of the next 10 points. In the second game, the Bulldogs were within 17-15 before losing eight of the next 11 points.
“We got aced a bunch of times late in games, or hitting errors or net violations,” Bonarigo said. “I didn’t think Leyden was that much better than us, I just think we get late in a game and we just make a bunch of mistakes. I haven’t found somebody to step up and be the man.”
The Bulldogs were 25-12 last season and have won 20 or more matches each of the past four years. Reaching 20 wins again will require a turnaround.
Seniors Mike Chaney, Vince Garcia, Pablo Garcia, Ben Brondos and Nick Green have been main contributors early, but the consistency hasn’t been there. Chaney had a career-high 16 kills April 3 in a loss to Reavis. Juniors like Konrad Kroczynski and David Wackrow are trying to work into the lineup.
“I think some people are coming along,” Bonarigo said. “Konrad Kroczynski got in [Thursday] for the first time. He got a couple good touches, blocking-wise. He’s pretty big so that was a positive. We had a couple nice things there, but it’s difficult with the late game mistakes.”
At Saturday’s Rolling Meadows Invite, the Bulldogs went 1-4 but lost three matches in three games. RB went 1-1 in pool play with a win over Rolling Meadows’ JV team and a loss to Addison Trail.
Three-game losses to South Elgin in the quarterfinals and to Fremd and Rolling Meadows in consolation matches wrapped up a busy Saturday.
RB at Rolling Meadows Invite
RB def. Rolling Meadows JV 25-13, 25-13
• Vince Garcia, David Wackrow: 5 kills each
Addison Trail def. RB 25-14, 25-7
• Nick Green: 5 digs
South Elgin def. RB 26-27, 26-24, 15-10
• Vince Garcia: 8 kills, 5 blocks
Fremd def. RB 17-25, 25-19, 25-23
• Vince Garcia: 16 kills
• Mike Chaney: 7 kills, 13 digs
• Danny Nava: 27 assists
Rolling Meadows def. RB 25-17, 19-25, 20-25
• Mike Chaney: 13 kills