Glenbrook North is again in the way of the Minooka varsity boys volleyball team.
Last year, North defeated the Indians in the state semifinals as the Indians went on to finish fourth. This year, the only team ranked higher in the state than the 22-1 Indians is North.
Phil Hannon was the primary setter for the Indians during their 2012 run, distributing 835 assists over the course of the season, and is back in the role this spring. Following a two-game win over Oswego East Tuesday, Hannon agreed to share his thoughts with the Morris Daily Herald.
Q. How did you originally become a setter?
A. I originally decided to become a setter when I went to my mom’s recreation volleyball games and when my brother played club for first time and I thought the setter position looked like a lot of fun.
Q. What’s it like having your role on a team with so many capable hitters?
A. Having so many options is a great feeling. I never have to rely on one hitter. Instead I always have three to four hitters I can set, which also makes it less predictable for the other team.
Q. When someone on the team slams down a big kill, they’re usually the ones that get the credit, even if it’s really due to a good setup by you. Does that ever get frustrating?
A. Although the hitters get most of the credit on a kill, I usually don’t mind because I know I played a part, which is good enough for me.
Q. At what point did you start using a jump serve, and how difficult is it to perfect?
A. I just started using my jump serve this year because I wasn’t consistent until now. It takes a long time to perfect and I’m still working on it.
Q. Of your 21 wins so far this season, does any stand out the most?
A. The wins that stand out the most this season would have to be New Trier, Sandburg, and Neuqua Valley because they have always been good teams, and seeing how we stand against them boosts our confidence. Also playing teams of their caliber really help us see how well how can play.
Q. You’ve won other tournaments. Was winning the Minooka Invitational a little extra special given its location?
A. Winning the Minooka tournament was special this year being my senior year and the fact that it is our home tournament really meant a lot.
Q. What has Jake Fleischauer been doing before matches to help keep you guys loose?
A. Before all of our games since our home tournament our teammate Jake Fleischauer does an Indian chant to pump us up usually saying something about a battle between the Indians, us, and whoever the other team is while the rest of us chant with him. Without Jake, I can honestly say some of our games may have been closer games if not completely different games.
Q. Prior to the state series, are any other dates circled on your calendar for the team?
A. We are really looking forward to the Lincoln-Way East tournament that is coming up this next weekend. We want to prove to the other areas that we aren’t just a fluke like a lot of schools think we are.
Q. Is there any specific area the team is actively working to improve in the last few weeks of the regular season?
A. We have really been working on our serve receive and blocking lately which we aren’t weak at but just so we are able to run an even better offense.
Q. What did your 2012 run teach you about what needs to happen for the team to compete for a state championship?
A. The 2012 season really taught me that we have to relax and play more like a team rather than a group of players on the floor together. This season is much more relaxed in every sense. Even for part of our pregame warm up, we have dance-offs with the opposing teams in the hallways.