By Phil Brozynski
The greater the expectations, the greater the disappointment.
No wonder the Glenbard East players were down in the dumps after day one of the 2008 IHSA Boys Volleyball State Tournament.
Glenbard East carried a 36-3 record into its quarterfinal against Neuqua Valley. It had survived arguably the toughest conference in the state - the DuPage Valley - during the regular season and then swarmed Addison Trail and Lyons in the sectional.
But the Rams stumbled out of the gate against Neuqua Valley and never recovered, losing 25-21, 19-25, 25-21.
Gone from that team is Dan Mader, the do-it-all setter/hitter/blocker extraordinaire who led Glenbard East in kills, assists and aces, and 6-4 middle Tom Seagraves. But there is enough returning talent to thrust the Rams back into state title contention.
"The rebuilding process is moving along nicely," said veteran coach Marci Maier. "Many of our junior varsity players worked hard in the off-season and a ready to contribute."
Top returnees for Glenbard East are Mark Jones, Tim Lovik and Piotr Dabrowski. Jones, who has committed to George Mason, was third on the team in kills (179) and second in assists (312). Lovik was second in kills (194). Dabrowski was fourth in kills (153) and first in blocks (122).
Also returning are libero Mark Kunberger and defensive specialist Jason Jaent, who moves over to setter.
"Lovik, Dabrowski and Jones should be up there with some of the best in the state this year," Maier said.
But the jury is out on their team.