West Allis - A number of local athletes helped the West Allis Lightning volleyball club boys 18 team capture the national junior championship in Dallas.
The Lightning defeated SCVC 18's QuickSilver of Southern California, 25-27, 25-22, 15-10, in the title match. Trevor Novotny of Catholic Memorial was named the 18 Open division most valuable player and Adam Kessenich of Shorewood, Nick Olson of New Berlin Eisenhower and Peter Hutz of Marquette High School were named to the all-tournament team.
"The boys worked extremely hard all season," co-coaches Jake Cosson and Shane Reid said. "Learning new skills, systems and mentalities were the biggest obstacles. Throughout the season, the goal was always the same, to win the national tournament, and the players never let that goal go."
Cosson and Reid surprised the boys the week before the tournament by taking team to a team ballet lesson.
"The boys were very skeptical at first, but they warmed up to the idea very quickly and enjoyed every minute of it," Cosson said. "It was definitely a moment that brought us together as a team."
Of the 12 members of the team, eight will continue their volleyball careers at the collegiate level, with Novotny, Hutz and Olson at Loyola University of Chicago, Josh Kirchner at the University of Southern California, Conrad Kaminski at Stanford, Michael Michelau at Erskine University of South Carolina, Kyle Rohde at Lewis University of Illinois, and Kessenich at St. Ambrose University of Iowa.
Other Lightning teams also fared well. The boys 15 finished fourth in the national event, with Mark Heinen of Marquette and Danny Brozynski of Catholic Memorial receiving all-tournament honors, and the boys 14 came in fifth.
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