Boys volleyball begins season

Among their record 17 state tournament appearances, the OPRF boys volleyball team tied for fifth place in the 2021 state tournament and finished fourth in 2019. This year, led by Maryville University commit AJ Robateau and juniors Peter Zurawski and Daniel Moran, the team is hoping to make a run at the state title.

“I’m really excited to have a full schedule of games this season to get to see different teams from all around Illinois,” said Zurawski.

Robateau is also excited for this year and the possibility of making a run at state. “Last year the postseason is when we really started coming together as a team,” he said. “I’m hoping to replicate our postseason success this year, and even go a step further by placing in the state championship.”

Robateau believes they have what it takes to make the state dream a reality. “Zurawski is a really good setter. When he is on the court that really opens up what we can do with our offense,” he said. “When we’re in system we can run at a fast tempo, and we have a pretty big block when Peter and I are on the court.”

Zurawski sees the offense’s strategy as a vital part to the team’s success. “Our biggest strength this season will be our complex offense and our ability to score consistently when attacking,” he said.

Head coach Justin Cousin is excited, but understands the challenges the season will bring. “Our conference is incredibly stacked as per usual. Glenbard West and Hinsdale Central are ranked in the top five in the state. Playing in the hardest conference in the state, I think our most difficult games will be our conference games.”

In those tough games, Cousin will rely on his returning players. “Pretty much all the starters are returning with the exception of two,” he said.

Over the offseason, a big focus was on weight training for the team. “We are a lot more physical than last year. A lot of guys put in time in the weight room,” said Cousin. “That gives us better jumping ability and harder hitting for attacking.”

“We are extremely focused this year, and ready to pick up right where we left off from a mental standpoint,” said Cousin.