The state finals sometimes produce some amazing statistics. For example, Lincoln-Way North's Jake Walenga had 26 kills in a 25-21, 24-26, 26-24 victory over Minooka in the boys state basketball tournament quarterfinal Friday.
That number is impressive. But what was even more staggering was that Walenga had 59 attempts (and seven errors for a .322 percentage). That was more than half of his team's attempts.
On the other side of the court, Minooka's 6-6 Maalik Walker, who is going to Division II McKendree University next fall, showed why he is one of the more underappreciated middles around. Walker finished with 10 kills on just 17 attempts with just one error for a .529 percentage.
Overall, Minooka hit .321 compared to LW North's .294. So what did Minooka in? Nine service errors (compared to two for LW North), and the incessant cry of "Minooka in the net" from the Hoffman Estates P.A. announcer.
Too much Timreck.
Downers Grove South's Nick Timreck, who will help establish the men's volleyball program at Dominican University in River Forest as part of the school's first recruiting class next fall, certainly flashed some pretty impressive numbers at the state finals last weekend.
In the Mustangs' opening win against Deerfield, Timreck had 10 kills in 17 attempts with two errors for a .471 percentage. He was needed less in the Mustangs' win over St. Charles North, finishing with just six kills (11 attempts, two errors for a .364 percentage).
However, the 6-foot-6 senior stepped up huge - literally and figuratively - against Lincoln-Way North, finishing with 11 kills in 15 attempts with just one error (wide right) for a staggering .667 percentage.
But that was not even the best effort on the team against the Phoenix. Junior outside Mike Schmitt was 10 of 13 with no errors for a .769 percentage!
OK, folks down in Bloomington, if you're not going to distribute teams across Chicago so that sectionals like Proviso West and Andrew and Niles West are not ridiculously loaded every year, why not at least seed the state finals so the best teams aren't playing each other in the first round.
In football, the IHSA used records to determine seeds. If that method was employed in the final eight at state volleyball, at least that would be fairer than to have two of the best teams in the state meet in a quarterfinal.
If seeded by record, this year's pairings would have looked like this:
No. 1 Minooka vs. No. 8 Oak Park
No. 4 St. Charles North vs. No. 5 Payton
No. 3 Deerfield vs. No. 6 Downers South
No. 2 Lincoln-Way North vs. No. 7 Glenbrook South
Ironically, Deerfield, the only team to take Downers South to three sets at Hoffman Estates, still would have faced the Mustangs in a quarterfinal, and Lincoln-Way North and Glenbrook South, which met in a semifinal, would have squared off in a quarterfinal.
In 2012, the field would have looked like this:
No. 1 Wheaton Warrenville South vs. No. 8 St. Rita
No. 4 Barrington vs. No. 5 Lake Park
No. 3 Glenbrook North vs. No. 6 Payton
No. 2 Minooka vs. No. 7 Brother Rice
Barrington and Lake Park did meet in a quarterfinal, and the semifinals would have turned out the same way they actually did with WW South and Barrington meeting in one semifinal and Glenbrook North and Minooka meeting in the other.
What do Downers Grove North, Minooka, Barrington, Sandburg, Lyons, Neuqua Valley, Naperville North, Lincoln-Way East, New Trier and Lake Park have in common?
They all beat Downers Grove South this season.
Among the teams that were left behind this year - partly due to the geographical nature of the beast - were Lincoln-Way East (35-4), Loyola (31-7), New Trier (30-7), Neuqua Valley (32-6), Lyons (31-4), Glenbrook North (30-6), Stevenson (31-5), Brother Rice (28-10), Sandburg (30-8) and Vernon Hills (32-7).
The Chicago Catholic League named its all-conference team recently.
All-conference selections in the Blue Division included junior libero Dave Kelly, junior outside Mitch Weiler, junior right side Kevin Myren, senior outside Andrew Wilkison and senior middle hitter Ryan Paull from Brother Rice.
Also, senior outside Sean Barry, senior middle Kevin Webster, senior setter/right side James McCabe, junior outside David Wieczorek, and junior libero Collin Merk from Loyola; and senior outside Kevin Banky, senior right side Dan O'Keefe, senior setter Thomas McDermott and senior outside Billy White from St. Rita.
Also, junior middle Tim Doughney, senior middle/outside Brendan Surane and senior outside Matt Martensen from Providence; senior setter Bill Barry, junior middle Matt Walsh and senior libero Dominic Villa from Mt. Carmel; and senior outside Billy Langhenry, senior libero Creighton Pyles and junior outside Michael Knight of St. Ignatius.
St. Rita's Dan O'Keefe and Mt. Carmel's Dominic Villa were named co-winners of the Tony Lawless Award for the most outstanding player in the division and Loyola's Dan Ebeling was named the most outstanding coach.
Named all-conference selections in the White Division were sophomore setter Ben Colletti, senior outside Frank Scalise and senior middle Justin Earls of DeLaSalle; and senior outside George Cokinis, junior setter Joey McCauley and senior middle Scotty Gruszka of Fenwick.
Also, senior libero Jason Padilla and junior outside Yuriy Adaskevych of St. Joseph; sophomore outside Alex Miller of St. Laurence; and senior middle Samuel Rarick of Gordon Tech.
Fenwick's George Cokinis was named the recipient of the Tony Lawless Award for the outstanding player in the division and DeLaSalle's Mike Dieter was named the division's outstanding coach.
Critics may think the IHSA's decisions are pretty much black and white, but boys and girls volleyball are going red, white and blue next year.
Baden will supply the VX5EC-210 Red, White and Blue volleyball to the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) for the post-season of the upcoming 2013-2014 school year.
"The multi-colored ball has been long discussed by coaches and officials around the state," said Stacey Lambert, IHSA assistant executive director of the IHSA. "It seems now is the right time for the adoption of the multi-colored ball."