RBHS ready for close matches

Bulldogs’ game plan calls for ball control, defense and consistency

Although the Riverside-Brookfield High School boys volleyball team is off to a 2-5 start, every loss has been very close, including a trio of tough three-game setbacks. Coach Dan Bonarigo is optimistic the Bulldogs’ results will turn in their favor in time, and with plenty of hard work.

“We have a somewhat inexperienced team this season,” Bonarigo said, “but we hope to win some close game and be competitive in every match. Once again, we are going to stress ball control and defensive effort to put a competitive team on the court as all my teams tend to be from year to year.”

The Bulldogs, who finished 25-12 last season, are certainly adjusting to life without outstanding players Jack Gibson, Mitchell Malloy, Tim Thor-Larsen and Jake Fieseler who graduated last summer.

 The team does however return a handful of experienced senior players in outside hitter Mike Chaney, setter Danny Nava, middle hitter Vince Garcia, outside hitter Pablo Garcia and setter Ben Brondos. Junior middle hitter David Wackrow is a newcomer who has already made a considerable impact this season.

In their lone match last week, the Bulldogs lost 14-25, 25-13, 21-25 to Reavis. Chaney recorded a career-high 16 kills and Nava dished out 14 assists. Brondos (11 assists) and Pablo Garcia (nine digs, two kills) also contributed for RBHS.

The Bulldogs host Leyden on Thursday at 5:30 p.m., and will participate in the

Rolling Meadows Invite on Saturday at 10 a.m.

Kostich-led Lions looking for consistency

Although the Lyons Township High School boys volleyball team’s 2013 campaign was cut short in a regional final loss to Naperville North, the program produced a banner season nonetheless.

In addition to a scintillating 31-4 record, LTHS won the West Suburban Conference Silver Division title, took first place at the Conant Invite and Richards Invite, along with a runner-up showing at the Downers Grove South Invite and third place at Lincoln-Way’s tournament.

Senior setter Marko Kostich is a returning all-conference selection and one of the best players in the Chicagoland area. Senior outside hitters Michael Dean and Kevin Bartman provide offensive punch along with senior right side player Rob Watkins. Top newcomers are senior setter Jake Bobrowski and junior libero Jake Suva.

“With Marko leading us, I think we will continue to be a force to contend with this season,” LTHS coach Joann Pyritz said. “We have two new starting outsides and two new starting middles, so the question is whether we’ll develop the consistency we need to perform well at the end of the season.”

The Lions, who have already garnered a second-place finish at the Conant Invite this spring, take on visiting Downers Grove South in a West Suburban Conference crossover match on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the North Campus fieldhouse.