VILLA PARK – Ever since it had one bad day at its own invite, Addison Trail's boys volleyball team has been on a roll.
The Blazers lost twice on April 26, but have quickly recovered. Tuesday's 25-19, 25-20 victory against District 88 rival Willowbrook was AT's ninth win in a row since that day.
AT improved to 4-1 in the West Suburban Gold and entered Thursday's match at Benet with an impressive 24-3 record. Over the weekend the Blazers won the York Invite with a 5-0 record, including a win against highly-regarded Deerfield to take the title.
"We had a small letdown a couple weeks ago," coach Chad Grant said. "It's hard to say that we were in a funk or anything, it was just one day, but since then we've made the necessary corrections and they were obviously motivated by the losses and we've come back strong."
Junior Alex Dickmann is clearly the star of the team. The outside hitter had 11 kills against Willowbrook, but he's not the only weapon at the Blazers' disposal. Senior Anthony Chiaramonte, junior Jack Vrchota and sophomore Kannon Neems give senior setter Kevin Grygo plenty of options.
"Everybody assumes that we're going to Alex the entire time, but we also do have other players that do step up and can get kills just like him," Chiaramonte said.
Chiaramonte gives the team another weapon at outside hitter, which is key when opposing teams try to focus on limiting Dickmann's hitting angles.
"Alex had a lot of kills in the first game [against Willowbrook] and in the second game they started to cheat his way and we started to spread it out a little bit better," Grant said. "Anthony is the No. 2 guy and he's been playing well for us all season."
Chiaramonte is proud of the Blazers' record so far, which not only looks good on paper but also includes some big wins. AT was the first team to beat Glenbard West back on April 24. The Blazers also knocked off conference rival Morton, which received a No. 1 sectional seed, and Deerfield is another team with reasonable hopes of getting to state.
"This is probably one of the best seasons I've had for my volleyball," Chiaramonte said. "We have a good group of guys together and we all click together and know how each other work."
The Blazers received the No. 4 seed in the Conant sectional when the draw came out last week. They will head to St. Charles North for a regional and could see Glenbard North, one of the teams that beat them at their own invite, in the regional final. A chance at revenge would be nice, but AT has its sights set much higher.
At the beginning of the season the team had the goal to get to state and nothing they've shown on the court has changed that.
"I always like our chances," Grant said. "We got a strong team. We just want to make sure that we're clicking on all cylinders and playing the best that we can by the start of the playoffs. I don't think there's any team that we're going to be over matched by or that I'm scared of."
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