Home World Alex Antkiewicz, St Laurence sweep past Stagg

Alex Antkiewicz, St Laurence sweep past Stagg

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The volleyball future for St. Laurence’s Alex Antkiewicz is a little fuzzy.

But the senior right-side hitter has 20/20 vision when it comes to his academic future.

The 6-foot Antkiewicz is planning on studying optometry in college at Augustana, but it’s unclear whether he will land a spot on the men’s volleyball team or not.

“I talked to the coach a couple of times, but they already had six kids committed,” Antkiewicz said. “He told me to keep in touch because they might have a lot of kids drop out after the first year.

“My mentality is even if I am on the bench, I get to still play the sport I love.”

That said, Antkiewicz is going to stay away from the bench for a little bit longer.

His three quick kills to open the first game Tuesday night ignited the Vikings to a 25-19, 25-18 victory over the host Chargers in the Stagg Regional semifinals in Palos Hills.

Antkiewicz finished with eight kills and a block for St. Laurence (24-11). Dylan McKeon tallied eight kills and two blocks and Elijah Landeros added seven kills. Roman Rzeszutko had four aces.

Matthew Wojciechowski paced Stagg (14-20) with six kills and Dennis Tocila added five.

St. Laurence's Roman Rzeszutko (8) hits the ball over the net against the Stagg Chargers during a game in Palos Hills on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Nate Swanson/for the Daily Southtown)
St. Laurence’s Alex Antkiewicz (5) hits the ball over the net against the host Chargers during a Class 3A Stagg Regional semifinal match in Palos Hills on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Nate Swanson / Daily Southtown)

St. Laurence challenges Brother Rice (24-13) at 4:45 p.m. Thursday in the regional final. The early start time is to accommodate the Crusaders’ graduation ceremonies.

Brother Rice, a state quarterfinalist last spring, beat Chicago Christian 25-13, 25-10. John Mikrut led with 10 kills and five aces, while Vaughn Goberville and Carter Mosel each had five kills.

Antkiewicz said if he doesn’t play volleyball at Augustana, it won’t be a deal breaker. He’s looking at his education first and foremost. But he’s loved the sport since his father, Mark, got him into it.

“I got started in fourth grade because my dad forced me,” Antkiewicz said. “He was my coach for three or four years. He still plays in adult leagues and is a referee.”

Alex said his father wanted to play in high school, but St. Laurence did not have a boys volleyball team until after he graduated. Mark, meanwhile, taught his son well.

St. Laurence's Roman Rzeszutko (8) sets the ball during a game in Palos Hills on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Nate Swanson/for the Daily Southtown)
St. Laurence’s Roman Rzeszutko (8) sets the ball against the host Chargers during a Class 3A Stagg Regional semifinal match in Palos Hills on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Nate Swanson / Daily Southtown)

“He’s the type of guy who we can set anytime in the game,” Rzeszutko said of Antkiewicz. “If we’re in a slump or in trouble, he can get us out of it.

“You just set the ball to No. 5 and he’ll pound the ball down.”

Rzeszutko is looking forward to Thursday’s regional final. The senior setter transferred from Brother Rice. The two Catholic League teams didn’t face each other during the regular season.

Rzeszutko vows to not engage in trash talking Thursday, but he’s looking forward to the matchup.

“I’m playing against my old school and I’m so excited to play them,” he said. “I’ve been wanting to play them ever since I transferred. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

St. Laurence's Roman Rzeszutko (8) hits the ball over the net against the Stagg Chargers during a game in Palos Hills on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Nate Swanson/for the Daily Southtown)
St. Laurence’s Alex Antkiewicz (5) tries to power the ball through the block against the host Chargers during a Class 3A Stagg Regional semifinal match in Palos Hills on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Nate Swanson / Daily Southtown)

At the same time, St. Laurence coach Laura Bugarin also was glad to see Antkiewicz get out to a hot start against Stagg.

“He normally doesn’t get the big numbers, but he gets the big points for us,” Bugarin said of Antkiewicz. “I’m very proud of his performance.”

In the future, Antkiewicz hopes things can work out at Augustana with the men’s volleyball team because he would prefer to not give up the sport just yet.

“I love the feeling of being on the court,” he said. “I always say that people overlook our sport, but I think the beauty of it is that it’s so different between the different genders and the different levels.

“College and high school are two completely different sports.”

Jeff Vorva is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.



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