by Phil Brozynski
Wheaton Warrenville South served notice that it will not relinquish its state volleyball title without a fight last weekend.
Led by tournament MVP Eric Hardek, the Tigers defeated New Trier, Buffalo Grove and Glenbrook North to win their first Tiger Classic title since 2004. WW South won with only two seniors on its roster – Hardek and libero Brian Williams.
The Tigers’ rotation features 6-10 junior outside Neill Nystrom, 6-9 junior Rob Samp, 6-4 freshman Eric Luhrsen, 6-3 junior outside Kevin Mueller and 6-2 junior setter Joe Kelly.
Six-foot-7 junior middle Neil Whittington is expected to play for the first time this season when the Tigers resume DuPage Valley Conference play Tuesday.
◘ It became inevitable that when Marist opened its doors to girls a few years ago that the school’s athletic rosters would become dotted with both female and male members of the same family.
The 2008 boys volleyball team features three players whose sisters were standouts at Marist: senior libero Marco Loncar, whose sister Jenna is a freshman at Augustana; sophomore opposite Dave Nelson, whose sister Abby is a freshman at Illinois; and 6-7 junior opposite Joe Smalzer, whose sister Claire is now at Duke.
Marist lost twice at WW South, losing to Naperville Central in pool play Thursday and to York in the quarterfinals of the Silver division on Saturday. The RedHawks defeated Waubonsie Valley and Evanston to finish fifth in the Silver.
◘ Glenbrook South coach Tim Monahan said that 6-2 sophomore outside hitter C.J. Berg will be a player to watch in the next two years. Berg was named to the all-tournament team after leading Glenbrook South to the Bronze division title.
◘ Joining Berg on the all-tournament team were: senior opposite Joe Ascher of Buffalo Grove; senior setter Tim Bedford of Glenbrook North; senior outside Corey Bigham of Lincoln-Way Central; senior outside Matt Brahm of York; and senior opposite Erik Brand of New Trier.
Also, senior outside Jon Bunge of Naperville North; senior outside Randy Hansen of Oak Lawn; senior outside Matt Jercich of Marist; junior setter Joe Kelly of WW South; senior middle Sean Lischke of St. Louis DeSmet; and senior outside Kevin Padden of Brother Rice.
Rounding out the all-tournament team were senior middle Matt Pollock of Sandburg and senior middle Mark Shipp of Cincinnati Moeller.
◘ Lincoln-Way Central coach Joann Holverson is high on 6-3 senior outside Corey Bingham, who led the Knights to an eighth-place finish..
“He’s quiet and unassuming, but he’s been hitting the ball well for us lately,” she said.
◘ According to reliable sources, prior to their meeting at the Tiger Classic Saturday, Naperville North had defeated crosstown rival Naperville Central in 14 consecutive matches including DuPage Valley, invitational and state tournament play.
The Redhawks snapped the streak with a 19-25, 26-24, 25-20 victory in the fifth-place match Saturday.
◘ And finally, get well wishes to former New Trier standout Ted Garard. A rare skin disorder has sent Garard to the sidelines at Ball State. Garard is on medication and is expected to return to practice soon.