The Riverside-Brookfield High School boys volleyball team is hoping an equal combination of seniors and juniors will provide a winning result.
The Bulldogs are off to a 5-3 start, beating Joliet Catholic, Bolingbrook and Plainfield South in five matches at the Joliet West Tournament last month and beating Morton and Oak Lawn both in two sets. The Bulldogs are 2-1 in three-set matches.
Senior setter Landon Harazin is a third-year starter and senior outside hitter Iggy Bielobradek a third-year varsity player for the Bulldogs, who have seven seniors and juniors on their roster.
Last season, the Bulldogs finished 15-20 in 2022 and 4-3 in the Metro Suburban Conference. They lost their Proviso West Regional opener to West Aurora 27-25, 25-22.
Senior outside hitters Ricardo Ulloa and Angel Herrera also usually were rotation regulars, and the three other seniors, middle hitter Sebastian Ciszewski, senior outside hitter Thomas Dixon and defensive specialist Nate Padilla, saw significant playing time.
Harazin led the 2022 Bulldogs in assists (496). Ulloa had a team-best 35 aces and 360 serve receptions and was third in digs (141), Bielobradek was second in kills (128) and Herrera (35) and Ciszewski (32) were second and third in total blocks.
This season, Ciszewski leads the Bulldogs with 41 kills, a .347 attack percentage and 18 total blocks. Harazin has a team-best 151 assists and 41 digs, Bielobradek has 29 kills and 27 digs, Dixon has 83 serve receptions and Herrera 12 blocks.
Varsity newcomers are juniors Garrett Angshed, Campbell Duncan and Makoto Scheuermann as outside hitters, libero Liam Reilley, middle hitters William Roudebush and Sam Shelven and setter Francisco Cervantes.
Reilley leads the Bulldogs with 45 digs, 105 serve receptions and six service aces. Shelven has 27 kills and 14 blocks.
LTHS remains perfect after Argo title
The Lyons Township High School boys volleyball team moved to 7-0 by winning the Argo Tournament on April 1 with five two-set victories, including over Lockport in the final match. They opened the season late last month by beating Brother Rice in three sets and Wheaton Warrenville South in two.
Statistical leaders have been seniors Sam Levinson (21 kills), Leo Wiemlet (28 kills) and Tommy Hennessy (25 digs) and juniors Luka Kostic (24 kills, 4 aces) and Carson Turner (59 assists). Levinson, Wiemlet and Kostic earned all-tournament honors at Argo.
All five were part of last season’s starting rotation. The 2022 Lions were 25-13, equaling their most overall victories since 2019, and 1-5 in the West Suburban Conference Silver Division. They captured a third straight regional title before losing to Silver rival Hinsdale Central 23-25, 25-23, 25-22 in the IHSA Hinsdale Central Sectional semifinals.
The 6-foot-7 Wiemelt will play volleyball at the University of California-San Diego. A third-year varsity player, the 6-3 Levinson will play at Springfield College. Senior 6-3 outside hitter Connor Carroll, another key varsity returnee, will play at Aurora University.
Newcomers include junior opposite-side hitter Tim Shepard and junior setter Tommy Culver, both 6-2.
“We have the ability to compete with top teams in the state and West Suburban Conference and having a successful postseason run,” LTHS coach Brad Skendzel said. “Our experience and leadership will be critical components to our program’s continued development.”