By Pat Brozynski

Glenbrook North's O'Keefe named MVP of Tiger Classic

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Jeff Jendryk.jpgJeff Jendryk (left) and St. Francis will be among the teams vying for the title at this weekend's Springfest hosted by Glenbard East.


Brian O'Keefe, the 6-foot-3 outside hitter from Wheaton Warrenville South Tiger Classic champion Glenbrook North, was named the tournament's most valuable player in balloting by the participating coaches.

Also named to the all-tournament team were: Stagg outside hitter Kamil Barnas; Glenbrook North libero Cody Bolan; Sandburg sophomore outside hitter Paul Chmura; Neuqua Valley setter Alex Coyne; and Hilliard Darby setter Thane Fanfulik and middle hitter Jarrod Kelso.

Also, Naperville North setter Gert Lisha; Lincoln-Way Central outside hitter Austin Overby; Minooka junior opposite Mitch Perinar; Lincoln-Way East junior libero Josh Phalen; and Minooka outside hitter Matt Svetlecich.

Also, Downers Grove South middle hitter Nick Timreck; Barrington middle hitter Peter Van Fossan; and New Trier setter Matt Wascher.

***

Glenbrook North created little preseason buzz following the graduation of Sun-Times all-area selections Pat and Kyle Bedford and two other starters from last year's state runner-up.

Apparently, the Spartans used that "under the radar" time to build a little team chemistry.

"We do a lot of offseason work," said Tiger Classic MVP Brian O'Keefe. "We all get together so that we're a team even before the season starts. Then when we get on the court, it's like we're a team already and we just need to get the volleyball part down."

Glenbrook North (9-1) has the volleyball part down OK. The Spartans bounced back from last week's loss to Sandburg at the Bison battle to defeat the Eagles in Saturday's WW South semifinals before taking down Hilliard (Ohio) Darby in the championship match.

"Winning this tournament is huge," libero Cody Bolan said. "We've never actually won this tournament before, so this is really special."

***

The surprise of the Tiger Classic at WW South was Neuqua Valley, which defeated New Trier to win the Silver bracket and was a 34-32 third-game, pool-play loss to Sandburg from advancing to the Gold bracket.

"Considering the field. I'm really proud of the way the guys played," Neuqua Valley coach Erich Mendoza said. "We had a lot of unknowns coming into the season, but we're just really steady all the way around, we pass well and play good defense.

"We don't have that one player you have to key on offensively," he added. "We just play really well as a team. (Libero) Matt Porter had a ridiculous tournament. He passed the ball really well, and (setter) Alex Coyne really did a great job offensively."

Coyne represented Neuqua Valley on the all-tournament team.

"It's hard to pick one hitter over another," Mendoza said. "We're really balanced all the way around. We might get four kills from one outside, three from another, three kills from one middle and three kills from our rightside. That's how all our matches went."

***

St. Francis' 6-7 junior middle hitter Jeff Jendryk, younger brother of former Benet standouts Jessica (Illinois) and Jenna (Dayton) Jendryk, was invited to join the USA Youth National Team that will compete at the FIVB World Championships to be held in Mexico June 27-July 7.

But Jendryk, who plays for Sports Performance's 18 Mizuno, reportedly declined the invitation because the World Championships run concurrently with the 2013 USA Volleyball Boys' Junior National Championships in Reno, Nev.

Also selected to join the national team was Mt, Carmel's 6-10 junior middle blocker Matt Walsh.

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Three local players were invited to participate on the 2013 USA Men's Junior National Training Team. Twelve players will be selected from the initial field of 21 to represent USA Volleyball at the Junior World Championships in Turkey in late August.

The players invited to participate on the training team will compete in a final tryout June 15-21 in Southern California. The team will represent USA at the Pan Am Cup in Argentina in late July and the World Championships in Turkey in late August.

Among those selected to participate on the training team are Loyola's Thomas Jaeschke (Wheaton Warrenville South) and Lewis University's Greg Petty (Downers Grove North) and Bobby Walsh (Mt. Carmel).

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Brother Rice is looking to fill three spots in the 24-team, fifth annual Brother Rice Smack Attack played at Brother Rice, St. Xavier University and Marist on April 19-20.

There is a $400 entry fee and a five-match guarantee. If interested or know of any schools looking to fill a tournament slot, contact Brother Rice coach Paul Ickes at pickes@brrice.org,

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This page contains a single entry by Back Row published on April 1, 2013 12:28 AM.

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