By Nolan Navarrete ‘24

On April 19, Brother Rice volleyball held one of the largest tournaments in Illinois this year. The “Smack Attack” tournament holds 24 of the top teams from the Midwest. The competition has been at a peak since the tournament started 14 years ago, and it will only continue to grow.

The Crusaders started off the weekend hot by sweeping Lincoln-Way Central and Richards. The two effortless wins set up the boys in the gold bracket play for the rest of the weekend.

Senior Jimmy Lyons has been a staple to the team this year. With a slim amount of seniors on the squad, Lyons has had to take a leadership role for the team this year. He was very pleased with the start of this weekend.

Lyons said, “The smack attack tournament is always a great tournament during the middle of our season. We started off hot and that gave us some great momentum. It placed us in the gold bracket of the tournament and we were excited for more competition.”

On Saturday, the Crusaders had a statement game against a talented St. Xavier (KY) team.

Junior Tater Klinger said, “Going into the day, we knew the task at hand was going to be a difficult game against the best team from Kentucky. We knew we needed to get the job done to advance in the tourney.”

Klinger backed up his statement. The Crusaders defeated St. X in two sets. But, as the weekend went on, the Crusaders fell short in the next two games against Glenbard West and York. The Crusaders fought very hard and key player, junior Tater Klinger, gave it his all.

To round off the tournament, the Crusaders took fourth place in the gold bracket.

Two of our very own Crusaders were awarded as “all-tournament players.” Junior brothers John and Zach Mikrut have been stars for the Crusaders all year long. Making the all tournament team is something each player takes pride in. Their talent is being put on display with how they both have been playing against top level competition.

John said, “I thought as a team we played very well. Comparing our team to the past tournaments we have played in, we looked 100% better. Our success in this tournament gives us something we can build on down the road. Receiving all tournament team in one of the hardest tournaments in the state is an honor. The selection will give me confidence for the rest of the year and for state playoffs.”

The Crusaders are home versus  St. Francis of Wheaton on Tuesday April 30. Good luck and as always go Crusaders.