Boys volleyball optimistic about state run

The boys volleyball team is having another fantastic season, going 20-8, and sees the possibility of their first state title in school history.

Last spring the team won four straight playoff games, including a thrilling 2-1 victory over Lane Tech in the sectional final. However, they lost the first game of state 2-0 to Lake Park.

“The biggest thing that has pushed us is last year’s season,” says junior Danny Moran. “Losing in the first game of state last year hurts and everyone wants to show our competition that we can do better.”

“We have had a successful season due to the mindset we bring into our games,” says senior Camari Bolger. “Everyone puts in effort to succeed and tries their hardest to win each point.”

The team returned four seniors, middle hitters AJ Robateau and Bolger, outside hitter Danny Scholvin, and setter/right defensive specialist Kevin Bullens. Despite the shift in the core of the team, they have maintained their level of play from the end of last year.

“One thing that has made us successful is knowing how to play as a team and not as individuals,” says Robateau. “The team has great chemistry, which helps us on the court.”

In the two invites the team has played in this year, they have placed fifth, but felt they could have finished on the podium. “I’ve been pretty disappointed with the results at our invites,” says Robateau. We’ve lost every first game on the second day, which knocks us out of a podium spot. We really need to lock in before the game so we’re prepared.”

The team has also played in a number of exciting conference games. On April 5, they beat Lyons Township at home in a 2-1 thriller. Three days later they defeated Hinsdale Central in similar fashion to win fifth place at the Warren high school invite.

“My favorite game we played this year was the game against LT at home,” said Bolger. “It was a hard fought game, and in winning it we proved we are one of the strongest teams in the conference.”

“Close games are always more fun than blowing out a team,” says Robateau. “You can feel the pressure and really have to get your head in the game.Winning those close games shows that we have the grit necessary to win against our top opponents.”

The team has also collected big wins over Downers Grove North, Maine South, and Niles West.

“I am proud of how much our team has improved since the beginning of the season,” says Robateau. “I couldn’t be more happy that our players have been showing up and making a statement this year.

During the week of May 9, the team dealt with COVID-related absences, and suffered a tough loss in three sets on the road to conference rival York. However they were able to bounce back, beating Leyden and Proviso West to close out the regular season.

For the remainder of the season, the team has one goal in mind: making it far in the state playoffs. “My expectations this year are to get to state, and in doing so, win our first game, which would put us in at least fourth,” says Bolger.

“It’s our goal to place this year,” says Robateau. “And we’re going to make it happen.”