photo 1By Peter Fusilero and Beth Clifford

Sports Editor and Staff Writer

It has been a rough start so far for the boys’ volleyball team this spring, as they had to play some of the top teams in the state such as Wheaton Warrenville and Sandburg in the Buffalo Grove Invitational.

However, the difficult schedule proved to be beneficial, as the boys comfortably swept the Conant Cougars in two games. The boys finished the match with 22 kills.

“Playing tougher teams in the beginning of the season really prevents us from playing down to lesser teams,” junior Alex Blethen said. “Instead, we start clicking and working up to play at the highest level.”

The match started off with high energy and a big kill from junior outside Eryk Krzyzak (6 kills). That first point set precedent that the Knights were entirely in control of the match. In fact, the majority of Conant’s points in game one were because of Prospect’s errors.

Towards the middle of the first game, the Knights were in a three-point slump following a Conant ace, a Conant kill, and then a Prospect overpass. In times of trouble, however, this team always prevails. The Knights fought back from the temporary downslide by battling through a long volley and winning the point to make the score 10-5 Prospect. Game one ended at 25-16 with a kill from senior right side Grant Andler (3 kills, 1 ace).

In game two, Prospect struggled with some missed serves, poor passes, and unlucky blocking deflections, but Conant never stood a chance against the boys’ aggressive offense. Junior Dane Schweinzger (2 kills) closed game two at 25-17 with an ace.

“Overall we just need to be a little bit cleaner,” head coach Mike Riedy said. “We were a little too reactive to what the other team offered, meaning we were playing with the other team instead of worrying about our own issues, and then once we stopped doing that things seemed to be a little better in control.”

Someone who helped establish and maintain that control was senior Jacob Schwister, who is the setter in Prospect’s 5-1 offense. Lining up all of his star hitters for kill after kill, he sets the pace on the court and holds the position as one of the team’s captains.

“We made some mistakes in the beginning,” Schwister said. “We need to get our serve percentage up a little bit and our blocking has been struggling, but we’ve been working on it in practice for a while. Passing is getting there slowly but surely. I think that once one thing starts improving the rest will all come together.”

The Knights look to work on correcting these little mistakes in practice before their conference schedule begins.

“We start conference play on Tuesday,” Riedy said. “And we have to be playing our game not this other fluffy stuff with the opponent.”

With a new team filled with great hitters as well as consistent defenders, Riedy, as well as the rest of the team, holds great expectations for this conference season.

“[We’re] looking to go undefeated in conference,” Schwister said. “We’ve got a good team this year. We think our team can get the W each week.. even twice a week actually.”