Brother Rice (21-12) had won eight in a row behind sophomore outside hitter Mitch Weiler, junior middle Ryan Paull and outside hitter Joe Pochinskas before running into Wheaton Warrenville South in the semifinals of the Richards tournament Saturday.
The Tigers snapped the Crusaders' win streak, 25-10, 25-18, to advance to the finals against Richards. Brother Rice bounced back to defeat Lyons 25-22, 25-22 for third place. But the semifinal loss was still on Brother Rice coach Paul Ickes' mind.
"Thankfully, we have three more weeks to get ready for state," he said. "(WW South is) pretty amazing. The same thing happened to us at their place (Tiger Classic). We came out slow, then we were able to play with them a little. It was kind of a carbon copy of a few weeks ago.
"They have no obvious weakness," he said. "You just have to grit it out. We showed a few sparks. But they can turn plays that look like they're going nowhere into kills. They're pretty special."
Brother Rice is seeded fifth at the Lincoln-Way East sectional and would host No. 4 Marist for the regional title at 7:00 p.m. on May 23. The winner would get top-seeded Lincoln-Way North at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 25 in a sectional semifinal.
"We're getting better," Ickes said. "They've really come together. We found the right combinations. They've done a lot of things right the last three weeks. This is great because now we have a goal for the final three weeks of the season."
Wheaton Warrenville South's Thomas Jaeschke was named the MVP of the Richards tournament last weekend.
Joining Jaeschke on the all-tournament team were: Matt Callaway, Wheaton Warrenville South; Nick Costa, Richards; Jeremy Norton, Richards; Zack Parik, Downers Grove North; and Kevin McMahon, Lyons.
Also, Nick Timreck, Downers Grove South; Tyler Smith, Warren; Mitch Weiler, Brother Rice; Peter Ryckbosch, St. Ignatius; Will Ruiz, Reavis; John Johnson, St. Rita; and Pablo Lopez, Morton.
The Illinois High School Volleyball Coaches Association first Boys All-Star Game will be held Monday, June 4 at Brother Rice.
Coaches can nominate players for the game beginning this week. Coaches must be members of the IHSVCA to nominate players. For more information, contact Br. Paul Ickes, CFC, at Brother Rice High School.
Wheaton Warrenville South's victory over the hosts in the finals of the Richards tournament Saturday was career win No. 478 for Bill Schreier as boys head coach.
The Great Lakes Volleyball Center, which currently features eight courts and 61,000 square feet at 579 N. Oakhurst Drive in Aurora, is building a Youth Volleyball Academy that will add four additional courts and 23,000 square feet to its current structure.
The "Great Lakes Center Youth Development Academy" will offer multiple programs to both boys and girls from grades K-7 starting in September 2012.
The Great Lakes Center Youth Development Academy will focus on developing individual skills that are age appropriate and also introduce young athletes to the overall technical and tactical components of the sport of Volleyball.
A wide variety of programs will be available including single day clinics, 6-8 week short season programs, regional programs with no travel and also full season competitive programs.
The Great Lakes Center is home to the Sports Performance Volleyball Club (est. 1981), winner of 68 age group national championships. Sports Performance has sent more than 600 girls and boys on to play collegiate volleyball.
For more information about the Youth Volleyball Academy, please contact Rick Butler or Cheryl Butler at (630) 898-6400 or email Rick@greatlakescenter.com or Cheryl@greatlakescenter.com.