Despite lack of experience, Minooka looks for big things this season
CHANNAHON – Behind door No. 2 is what Minooka boys volleyball coach Janel Grzetich refers to as a “conventional” offense. The option to impliment it will be there.
But first, Grzetich wants to see what is behind door No. 1 – an offense that will move Justin Toth, who has been a career middle hitter, over to join Mitch Perinar on the right side.
“It’s a very nontraditional offense that I’ve maybe once or twice seen teams run before,” Grzetich said. “That’s why I’m a little hesitant with it, but I think the boys would agree too, if it works, it’s going to work very well. If it doesn’t, then things will definitely fall apart.”
What the Indians will do on the court is not the only matter in question after they graduated nine seniors from a team that advanced to the state final tournament in 2013. When practice began a few weeks ago, the chemistry between the five returning varsity players and the eight newcomers was far from perfect.
“It’s definitely starting to come together. At the beginning of the year, not so much,” Perinar said. “A lot of younger guys – we have a lot of sophomores on our team – but it’s nice having someone like [Brandon] Baranski, he was on varsity last year, so it’s someone to come back with. We’re all starting to come together with these spring break practices. Everyone’s cool with each other.”
Baranski is expected to step in at setter for Minooka, with senior Alex Karcewski providing depth both there and at right hitter. Junior Aaron Alexander will play behind senior Mason Novak at outside hitter. Middles on the roster include junior Jake Wietting and sophomores Daniel Beaudin and Luke Hermann. Senior Armani Zuniga will be the libero, with senior Matt Dibiase and sophomores Jeffrey Dames and Jake Johnson able to fill in on defense.
“[We have] a whole slew of boys who have no varsity experience, who are just kind of getting their feet wet with that. It’s kinda like baby steps,” Grzetich said.
In past years, the Indians would have opened the season already. Their traditional first event is the Plainfield North tournament, which was last Saturday and at which they did not appear this season. They instead will open this Friday against Lake Park at Wheaton Warrenville South’s Tiger Classic.
The Indians are hopeful that Friday is the first step toward their fourth state final tournament berth since 2010.
“I think we need to win [the Southwest Prairie] conference and go to regionals and sectionals,” Baranski said, “and we should be able to beat [the opposition] all the way up to state, hopefully, compete with [the teams there].”