Boys Volleyball: Future looks bright for young Mundelein squad
Updated: July 3, 2012 12:33PM
The Mundelein High School boys volleyball team was, quite naturally, disappointed to lose to Zion-Benton 25-21, 25-14 in a Stevenson Regional semifinal on May 22.
Of course, the Mustangs ended up finding themselves in some pretty good company. After defeating Mundelein, the Zee-Bees upset Vernon Hills in the regional championship match and Stevenson in a sectional semifinal.
“(Z-B) beat us at home during the regular season, and I’m not surprised at the way they are playing in the postseason,” said Mundelein coach George Dressen Jr. “They’re a deep team and they play (with emotion). This is the best team that they’ve had.”
While Dressen was not using that as an excuse, it didn’t help Mundelein’s cause that its bus more than an hour late. The Mustangs finally arrived just moments before they had to hit the court for warm-ups.
Mundelein played OK in losing the first set, but Zion-Benton dominated the next set to win the match.
Even keel: Despite its youth, Mundelein finished 17-19 overall.
“With the exception of one or two games, we were in every match and capable of beating any team we played,” Dressen said. “Even the matches that ended in two sets took (more) than an hour.”
Although the Mustangs ended up losing to Maine South in three sets at the Warren Invite April 7, that match proved they could play with anybody.
“It was an incredible, three-set match,” Dressen said. “That was one of our best (performances) of the season, and a real steppingstone for what our season could hold. We really maintained our focus and progressed as the season went on.”
Mundelein started at least one player from every class this season. The Mustangs only graduate three seniors from this year’s team.
“We had a wide diversity of ages, and I was proud of the way the seniors accepted (the younger players) and the way we played as one unit,” Dressen said.
Honors roll: Senior outside hitters Parker Tortorello and Corey Flores each earned all-conference recognition.
“I was expecting them both to play very aggressive,” Dressen said. “They were the perfect bookends to our offense.”
Bright future: The Mustangs will return a wealth of talent and are quite optimistic about next year’s team.
“They’ve had a whole year of experience playing together, and we’ll focus on continuing to move forward,” Dressen said.
Junior middle blocker Blake Burton was an honorable mention all-conference selection; he will be a co-captain next year.
“He’s a good motivator and has great leadership capability,” Dressen said.
The other co-captain in 2013 will be John Lenz, who started as a freshman. He will be the first sophomore Dressen has ever appointed as a co-captain.
“He certainly didn’t conduct himself like a freshman,” Dressen said. “He was willing to give constructive criticism in a positive manner, and he showed a lot of maturity.”