In the 1980s, the television show “Dynasty” enjoyed a long run of success on ABC. These days, there is a boys’ volleyball dynasty in full force in Chicago’s western suburbs.
Wheaton-Warrenville South, a high school of 2,300 students located 28 miles west of Chicago, has long been a boys’ volleyball juggernaut under the direction of coach Bill Scheirer.
But Scheirer and company turned things up a notch this season going a perfect 42-0 en route to winning another Illinois state championship. The Tigers were a sterling 84-2 in sets and no team got closer than four points in the state finals tournament. The Tigers won their six sets in the state finals by a combined 52 points.
It was Wheaton-Warrenville South’s seventh state title – all under Scheirer. The undefeated season also gives the Tigers the distinction of being the 2012 Mizuno/Volleyball Boys’ Volleyball Team of the Year, while Scheirer is the 2012 Mizuno /Volleyball Boys’ Volleyball Coach of the Year.
Wheaton-Warrenville South is the only team in Illinois state history to win more than one boys’ volleyball state title. It also went undefeated in 2001 (with former Pepperdine standout Sean Rooney) and 2004 (when it went 41-0).
“This group had the dedication to ultimately finish the job,” said Schreier, who is now 486-70 in 14 seasons at WWS. “Two years ago we lost in the state finals and a year ago we lost in the sectional. Four of the guys on this team have been part of all that. They wanted to finish on a high note.”
That group of four players includes 2012 Mizuno /Volleyball Boys’ High School All-Americans Thomas Jaeschke (Loyola-Chicago), Matt Callaway (Penn State), Matt Nussbaum and Tim Zyburt (Jaeschke, Callaway and Zyburt combined for more than 750 kills).
“The team synergy this year was unbelievable. I have never had a group of guys that got along all season long,” he said. “It was like they almost knew where everybody would be on the court.”
Jaeschke agrees that the team’s disappointment the previous two years was a major source of motivation for this year’s group.
“This year was a culmination of things,” he said. “We were not going to be denied. There was nothing anybody could do to stop us. Coach definitely wasn’t letting us forget about what happened last year. It was a driving force throughout the season.”
Jaeschke said this year’s roster had one extremely important additional ingredient.
“California teams have a history of having high-level club players,” he noted. “We have high level club players but we also had great athletes this year. Tim Zyburt doesn’t play club but can go out there and touch 11-6 and jump out of the gym. We were able to fill all of our spots incredibly well this year.”
Scheirer’s team was challenged in the sectional semifinals by Downers Grove North – one of the two teams to take a set off the Tigers this year (state-championship foe Glenbrook North was the other in an early-season contest).
“We had to fend them off in the sectional semifinals and then we relaxed and went after things in the end,” Scheirer said. “Going 42-0 this year with the tournaments we play in was tough. Nick Smith (a senior outside hitter) came to the state championship match when he was a freshman and said there was something magical when the state title was hoisted.”
Jaeschke laid major praise on Scheirer and his efforts over the years.
“He’s the best coach a player can have,” he said. “He can talk to us as a coach and as a friend. It’s real hard not to try your best for him. He talked about this group leaving our own legacy at the school. We left our own legacy in the Wheaton-Warrenville South boys’ volleyball program. That’s pretty hard to do.”
The 2012 group did just that.
Originally published in August 2012