After being swept in two matches last spring against Illiana Christian, the Riverside-Brookfield High School boys volleyball team completed its measure of sweet revenge with a 25-20, 25-22 victory over the Vikings last week. The Bulldogs also beat Illiana 25-14, 25-17 on March 27.
In last week’s win, a quartet of RBHS hitters set the tone offensively, combining for 17 kills and no hitting errors against Illiana. Tim Thor-Larsen tallied a team-high five kills while Jack Gibson, Mitch Malloy and Mike Chaney contributed four kills apiece. Danny Nava (14 assists) and Scott LeBeau (five assists) set up the RBHS attack with solid passing.
With the state playoffs less than a month away, the Bulldogs (13-5) are hoping to get on a roll the rest of regular season and carry that momentum into the postseason. In order to get on that kind of run, the Bulldogs have made it a point of emphasis to limit the in-game scoring runs by its opponents.
“We’ve talked about limiting other teams runs to just a point or two,” said coach Dan Bonarigo. “We can’t allow five or six points in a row. In practice, we have done some drills designed to help achieve that goal, and I think we’ve made some progress.”
Bonarigo mentioned the Bulldogs’ 25-20, 21-25, 25-19 win over Payton College Prep on April 12 as a good example of containing a worthy opponent.
“Payton has a good team led by a great outside hitter,” Bonarigo said. “I wouldn’t say we neutralized him, but we did a nice job of containing him.”
On their side of the net, RBHS has benefitted from solid performances from several team leaders.
Gibson is one the Bulldogs’ top hitters who can spark the team in multiple ways.
“Against Payton, Jack didn’t have a great match offensively,” Bonarigo said, “but he still did a really nice job for us. He showed why he’s our floor captain with a lot of hustle and good passing.”
Middle hitter Tim Thor-Larsen has also made a huge impact this season.
“Tim has been a pleasant surprise,” Bonarigo said. “He was a third or fourth string middle last year. He came on [late] last year and has carried it right into this one. When Tim is involved, our offense does well.”
RBHS on Saturday will compete in the Downers Grove North Invite, which features solid teams like the host Trojans, Payton, Metea Valley and Willowbrook.