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Blazers play their best, but bounced from volleyball playoffs

Published: Friday, June 6, 2014 9:00 a.m. CDT
(Erica Benson -
Addison Trail's Zach Vaca hits the ball during a match against Morton earlier this season. Vaca and the Blazers played their best game of the season against Lake Park, but lost in three in a sectional semifinal against the Lancers.

ADDISON – For one game it was all clicking for Addison Trail's boys volleyball team, but that turned around quickly.

The Blazers dominated the first game against Lake Park in the sectional semifinal at Conant on May 30, but fell in three games 18-25, 25-15, 25-13.

"We came out and probably played the best volleyball we played all season," coach Chad Grant said. "We passed perfectly and had three options every time. They were just guessing."

Ultimately the top-seeded Lancers found their best in Game 2 and kept the momentum rolling. Lake Park qualified for state by beating Barrington 25-17, 25-21 in the sectional final.

"They're a very good team and turned it around," Grant said. "They won all the long rallies."

Despite the loss, Addison Trail finished the year with a 33-5 record, matching the program record for wins in a season and won the program's fifth regional since 2008. After all five regional titles AT has lost the sectional semifinal.

The Blazers even beat two state-qualifying teams in the regular season in Morton and Glenbard West.

The success of this team, led by talented junior hitter Alex Dickmann and seniors Kevin Grygo (setter), Marco Parisi (libero) and Alex Chiaramonte (outside hitter) was something the Blazers expected.

"We pulled up a bunch of sophomores and a freshman last year so we knew what we had," Grant said.

Grygo and Chiaramonte will be key losses to replace, but Grant expressed confidence in the ability of junior Joe Nasti to take over at setter for Grygo. Replacing Chiaramonte at outside hitter might be more of an uncertainty moving forward. In all, six seniors graduate from the team.

In terms of what's back, Dickmann and middles Jack Vrchota and Kannon Nelms will both be back. Vrchota, a junior, had a standout match in the regional final win against Glenbard North. Nelms, a sophomore, flashed the ability to be a strong blocker.

The Blazers were second in the West Suburban Gold on all levels and expect to be in contention for conference and regional success again.

"There's some talent in the pipeline," Grant said.

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