By Ryan Gierhahn ‘23

For over 25 years, Coach Dan Dwyer has been leading the Brother Rice Volleyball program. He’s captured 20 regional titles and coached several future college players including Joe Kenzinger and Mitch Weiler.

Coach Dwyer announced prior to the 2023 season that this would be his last year at the helm. Although he has already made a lasting impact on Brother Rice, Coach Dwyer has an opportunity to go out with a bang for his final season.

Last year, the Crusaders had an up-and-down year before finally picking it up and making a run in the playoffs. After winning a regional championship, their season ended with a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to rival Marist in the sectional semifinal.

Senior outside hitter Nate Kramer said, “The loss to Marist left a bad taste in our mouths. We didn’t like the way our season ended, but we’re excited to prove ourselves this year. The get back has no expiration date.”

The team from last season is returning all starters and added a dynamic transfer in Shauneil Nelson as well. Nelson is already committed to play college volleyball at Cardinal Stritch University, along with teammate Luke Dwyer.

The Crusaders enter the season as a top five team in Illinois and #23 in the country according to They look to advance through the rankings as the season goes on, while also facing one of the most competitive schedules in the state.

When asked about the tough schedule, senior Luke Dwyer said, “I like our schedule because we’ll get experience against competitive teams early in the regular season. We want to be ready for a deep playoff run in May.”

Their schedule opened up on Monday, March 20, with a matchup at Carl Sandburg High School. The Crusaders got off to a hot start and never looked back, winning the match easily in two games (25-15, 25-16). Shauneil Nelson led the team with seven kills, Michael Bos added five, Nate Kramer and Paul Baker had four apiece, and setter Luke Dwyer finished with 19 assists.

Senior middle Michael Bos said, “I was glad to finally be on the court as a team again and get our season started. We played well, and we’re only going to get better as the year goes on.”

It was a great group effort from the squad and they look to keep it going with nonconference games against Lyons Township, Plainfield Central, and Glenbard East in the next few days. Good luck to the Crusaders the rest of the way as they hope to send Coach Dan Dwyer out with a special season!