Truth is stranger than fiction.
While watching his team's potential regional championship opponent (Glenbard West) play a possible sectional final foe (St. Francis) Wednesday in Wheaton with former Sun-Times All-Area selection Eric Hardek, Wheaton Warrenville South coach Bill Schreier related a story about former all-area setter Doug Burchett.
Nine years ago, Wheaton Warrenville South was making its annual appearance at the Richards Bulldog Volleyball Invitational. The Tigers had been struggling that season - one of the few seasons since the Sean Rooney era when Wheaton Warrenville South was not a state title contender - and were relegated to a back gymnasium of the Oak Lawn school.
As the Tigers were preparing to play their next opponent, Burchett, who was a freshman that season, looked across the net at his team's next opponent.
Burchett then turned to his coach and said in all seriousness, "I didn't know Richards was in this tournament."
Speaking of Richards, the 2010 Bulldog Invitational features one of its strongest fields ever with three-time defending state champion Wheaton Warrenville South, Marist, New Trier, Morton, Downers Grove North, Downers Grove South and Warren.
The championship match is scheduled for noon on Saturday.
Congratulations to Waubonsie Valley, which clinched a share of its first Upstate Eight Conference title since 2006 by beating Lake Park 25-27, 25-23, 25-22 Tuesday in Roselle.
Freshman setter Luke Furman had 22 assists, senior Eric Johnson added 20 assists and Robert Wieland and Russell Penicook each had 12 kills for Waubonsie Valley (19-8, 7-0), which can win the title outright by defeating Neuqua Valley at home May 18.
Neuqua Valley has won three consecutive Upstate Eight titles.
A former Sun-Times All-Area selection had a front row seat to Stanford's three-set victory over Penn State in the finals of the NCAA Men's Volleyball National Championship May 8 at Stanford.
Former Barrington star Jason Ambrose, a 6-foot-6 redshirt junior, is a member of the Penn State men's volleyball team. Ambrose was the second-leading attacker on Barrington's 2005 IHSA state runner-up.
Guess what the Illinois women's volleyball team found under its Christmas tree? A powerful, 6-foot-2 outside hitter.
Former Naperville North star and Chicago Sun-Times All-Area selection Colleen Ward has signed a letter of intent to transfer to Illinois from Florida. A second-team All-Southeastern Conference performer in 2009, she will be immediately eligible in the fall.
Ward ranked 10th in the SEC in kills, was an all-tournament selection twice and played in every set for a team that advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 before bowing to eventual national champion Penn State. She had 18 kills in a late-season upset of No. 10 Kentucky.
Ward and former Downers Grove North star Laura DeBruler will give Illinois one of the best outside hitter combinations in the Big Ten, if not the nation.