WEST CHICAGO – Tim Robbins played a starring role in Wheaton Academy’s victory against Geneva in a nonconference boys volleyball match Friday, but it was the stronger supporting cast for the Warriors that determined the outcome.
Robbins had 14 kills as Wheaton Academy rallied from a 25-23 loss in the opening set to win the next two games with relative ease, 25-17, 25-15. The senior middle hitter said the Warriors (8-4) didn’t let the first-game loss bother them.
“We’ve dealt with a lot of emotions before,” he said. “A couple games back we all got frustrated and stuff, but we’re able to overcome that now. We’re able to control our emotions and instead let the play do the talk.”
In the opening moments of the match, it looked like Robbins and 6-foot-5 Geneva senior middle hitter Mason Stierwalt would dominate play. Stierwalt had kills on four of Geneva’s first five points, while five kills by Robbins – including three on blocks – were part of the first dozen points for Wheaton Academy.
As the match wore on, however, the Warriors got major offensive contributions from senior middle hitter Kenneth Mill and classmate Jeremy Vischer. Mill came alive late in the second set with a pair of blocks and a kill that helped Wheaton Academy break away from a 13-all tie. Mill finished with 11 kills, as did Vischer, who reeled off three in quick succession as the Warriors raced past Geneva (14-6) for quick control of the third game.
“We’re a great team,” Robbins said. “We have multiple guys that can do any position. They can just play straight-up volleyball. I mean, it’s great. I love it.”
Stierwalt matched Robbins with 14 kills, but half of those came in the opening game.
Wheaton Academy coach D.A. Nichols said the Warriors were more aware of where Stierwalt was in the final two games.
“There’s a couple times we called his number,” Nichols said, referring to Wheaton Academy’s defensive plans. “We didn’t really overload, but we overplayed a couple rotations and it worked out for us.”
Geneva coach K.C. Johnsen said the Vikings became too reliant on Stierwalt.
“I think the biggest problem was trying to force the ball to him,” Johnsen said. “We’ve got other people that can score. [Chris] Parilli scores a lot for us. Nick [Buseki] scores quite a few and Dominic [Bondi] is very effective in the middle. We’ve got other people. I think we just kind of thought Mason was going to score every time he got the ball.”
Parilli had eight kills on the night. Bondi contributed five kills and Buseki had four.
Wheaton Academy junior setter Kevin Esposito had 26 assists. A good portion of those, of course, went to Robbins, who you might think would be drawn to be a baseball pitcher like Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh as played by that other Tim Robbins.
But it turns out “Bull Durham” is not Robbins’ favorite Tim Robbins movie.
“Shawshank Redemption,” Robbins answered. “Obviously.”