By Phil Brozynski
It's not the tournament originally envisioned, but the expectations are that it will get there.
The Brother Rice Smack Attack boys volleyball tournament gets under way Friday at Brother Rice, Mother McAuley and St. Xavier with nine teams including Marist, Sandburg, Providence and St. Francis among the six local entries. Three out-of-state teams will also compete.
The original plan was for the tournament to feature 24 teams from Illinois ands across the country, but previous commitments and scheduling difficulties limited the field this year.
Nevertheless, it is the first event of any kind to be held on all three campuses simultaneously.
"It only took us 53 years," said Brother Rice coach Paul Ickes. "While all three institutions have a long history of cooperation and have shared facilities many times, this event brings that cooperation to a new level."
The out-of-state teams which will participate are Spanish River from Boca Raton, Florida, the 2007 state champions; St. Joseph High School from Metuchen, New Jersey, the 2008 state champions; and Christian Brothers High School from Missouri.
The tournament begins Friday at 6:00 p.m. with pool play at all three locations. The tournament resumes Saturday at 9:00 a.m. with crossover games and concludes with the championship, second and third-place games at approximately 1:30 p.m. Saturday
Parking will be a premium at all three sites due to other events including water polo, baseball, softball and soccer.
For more information, visit www.brvolleyball.com and click "Smack Attack."