By Phil Brozynski
The plan is to play some of the matches at Mother McAuley, but the Mighty Macs won't get any closer to the floor than the bleachers.
Brother Rice volleyball coach Brother Paul Ickes, C.F.C. is attempting to bring some of the top boys teams from Illinois and across the country together April 24-25 for the 1st Annual Brother Rice Crusader Smack Down.
The tournament would be played at Brother Rice, Mother McAuley and St. Xavier University, which has hosted a number of Illinois High School Association events including boys and girls basketball supersectionals at its Shannon Center.
Among the Illinois teams invited to participate are defending champion Wheaton Warrenville South, perennial power Sandburg, Belleville Althoff, Buffalo Grove, Lincoln-Way East, Lyons, Neuqua Valley, Providence, Marist, Glenbrook North and St. Francis.
The out-of-state invitees include Catalina Foothills (Tucson, Ariz.), Loyola (Los Angeles (Calif.), Mira Costa (Calif.), Valencia (Calif.), Bishop Moore (Orlando, Fla.), St. John's Prep (Danvers, Mass.), St. Louis University (Mo.), and Elder (Cincinnati, Ohio).
"Mother McAuley has paved the way and set the standard for hosting national volleyball tournaments such as the Nike Challenge and the Chicago Challenge featuring 2007 NCAA champion Penn State," Ickes said.
"I think we can host a tremendous tournament experience on our three campuses," he added.
The two-day, five-match format would employ six-to-eight courts each day. Fans will be able to walk from one campus to another within minutes.
Invitations were mailed September 22. If Bro. Ickes can pull it off, the Smack Down could become one of the premier high school sporting events anywhere in the United States.