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Boys Volleyball: Chicago Christian runs win streak to 11

By Randy Whalen
Correspondent

Chicago Christian continues to impress.

Riverside-Brookfield is seeking consistency.

That scenario played out April 19 when the Knights rallied for a big 18-25, 25-19, 25-18 comeback victory over the Bulldogs in a key Metro Suburban Conference matchup in Palos Heights.

By week’s end, Chicago Christian (16-2, 3-0 in Metro Suburban) had extended its winning streak to 11 straight.

On the flip-side, R-B (10-10, 2-1 in Metro Suburban) had dropped five in a row.

“We were all able to fight back and it was a big win,” Chicago Christian senior outside hitter Grant Veldman said. “This boosts our whole morale and we just have to stay focused.”

Veldman led the Knights with 15 kills. while senior right side hitter Nolan Krygsheld had 13 kills and five blocks. Senior setter Jack Dryfhout dished out 34 assists and added two kills, a block and a dig.

But it was not only the connection that Krygsheld has with Dryfhout on the court that is good. It’s the connection Krygsheld has with the Dryfhout family.

Afterward, Krygsheld was getting 10 chicken wings at Buffalo Wild Wings, courtesy of Jack Dryfhout’s dad, Jeff.

“We’ve got a deal going that if I get 10 kills, he will buy me 10 wings,” Krygsheld said. “This was the third time this year that I’ve got it, after doing it only once last season.”

Chicago Christian coach Deb Lindemulder is happy her team had a little extra motivation.

“They have been best of friends forever,” she said of Krygsheld and Dryfhout. “So that’s pretty neat. Jack is like an assistant coach out there at setter with his knowledge of the game.”

Four-year varsity players Dryfhout, Krygsheld and Veldman were huge for the Knights down the stretch.

Ahead 19-16, Chicago Christian polished it off with a 6-2 burst. Veldman vanquished a pair of kills and Krygsheld came up with two blocks and two kills, including a block and a kill for the final two points.

“We saw that they were going with a quick tempo offense so we had to put our block up quicker,” Krygsheld said. “Our middles (Michael Nichols and Ian Faber) killed it.”

After dropping the opening game, the Knights flipped the switch in the second set and never trailed. Veldman ended the set with a kill.

“In the first set, we got them off their game,” said Riverside-Brookfield coach Dan Bonarigo. “But then they started executing and played some amazing offense. Still, it wasn’t the end of the sets that was the difference, it was those big runs that hurt us.”

That and the adjustment the Knights made on the block.

“We made some changes and Nolan ran with it,” Lindemulder said. “We have a lot of height but we can’t just rely on that. We had to go with more attacking block. Our guys responded. We are hungry for it.”

Faber finished with a trio of kills and two blocks and senior libero Ray Alessi added 10 digs for Chicago Christian.

“After that first set we just all came together as a team,” Krygsheld said. “This match was key as to who will take first in conference.”

The Bulldogs’ Iggy Bielobradek, a junior outside hitter, deposited six kills. Junior setter Landon Harazin had 27 assists and nine digs.

The loss was the third straight for R-B, which fell 26-24, 25-21 to Oak Park-River Forest on April 14 and 25-22, 25-21 to Downers Grove North on April 18).

“I’m happy with how we played,” Bonarigo said. “We played hard, we just have to get over the hump.”

Because there was no season on account of COVID in 2020, this is only the third season for the Knights, which debuted varsity boys volleyball in 2019.

“These guys that are seniors on the team now were freshmen then,” Lindemulder said. “Their dedication is the reason we have a program.”

The program continues to improve.

We have a great community to be a part of and love playing high-level volleyball,” Veldman said.

That high-level volleyball continued April 21 when the Knights traveled to Indiana and defeated Illiana Christian 25-18, 25-21, 25-19 in a best-of-five matchup. Dryfhout (30 assists, ace, kill, block), Veldman (12 kills, 3 blocks, 2 assists, ace), Krygsheld (11 kills, 2 blocks, 2 aces),and Lautenbach (6 kills, 2 blocks, 4 digs) led the way.

On April 22, the Knights hosted Marian Catholic and came away with a 25-9, 25-21 victory to extend their winning streak to 11.

Riverside-Brookfield hosted Hinsdale South on April 20 and lost 25-16, 25-19. The next day, the Bulldogs traveled to St. Ignatius for another nonconference match and lost 25-18, 25-19.

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