His superb statistical production was among the best in the St. Louis area, leading with 456 kills. Alumnus Stanley Hinkle was the thoroughbred that held his Varsity volleyball team together last season. Now it must learn how to play without him.
Losing in the State Semi-Finals to St. John’s Vianney High School in 2011 and to Bishop DuBourg High School in 2010, certainly has not been easy for this team.
“We beat Vianney earlier in the year, so it really s***** losing in primetime,” said senior Alex Kutz.
“We also knew some of the players on Vianney so it was personal as well,” added senior Ryan Mahl.
Mahl looks to be Hinkle’s successor, as he will take over outside hitter on the court this spring. Mahl’s tall lanky frame gives him the quickness and leaping ability his position requires, something the Statesmen fans saw done quite well last season.
The prior two seasons have arguably been the best in the program’s history, so 2012 will serve as a stepping stone in either direction. The squad returns five seniors in Joe Sorenson, John Richards, Chris Scott, Kutz and Mahl. All but Scott have been three- year Varsity starters, showing experience is not a question among this class.
The team’s success will be answered by its youth. Sophomores Spencer Lanig and Matt Sorenson are pivotal factors at middle hitter.
“Those guys are key,” said Kutz. “If they can show the poise that it takes at a young age, then the addition of (senior) Keaton (Adams) could make us even better now that Stanley’s gone.”
Although Adams has never played volleyball before and is not technically a member yet, he certainly has the resume that a coach would like, playing three different sports in his high school career.
“I’m going down as a winner. I don’t want to lose my last game as a high school athlete. I know what this team is going through because I’ve lost a State Championship before,” said Adams.
The expectations are still very high for this talented and experienced team despite the fact of losing its most impactful player.
“You can quote me on it: we’re going to State, and we’re about to win,” said Kutz.