Boys Volleyball: Aubin enjoys first go-round as Libertyville coach
Updated: July 30, 2012 1:42AM
Casey Aubin paid quite a tribute to the first boys volleyball team he coached at Libertyville High School.
“The thing I enjoyed most was that they reminded me of my own team when I was in high school (at Carl Sandburg),” Aubin said. “These guys are best friends on and off the court, and that’s how my team was in high school. I will never forget what they did this year for the program.”
In fact, one of the reasons veteran coach Steve Rochon chose to retire last year was because he wanted the new coach to inherit a strong group of seniors.
“He knew that we had a good senior class that was really close,” said Wildcats senior setter Teddy Kopacz. “We tried to help (Aubin) out with (strong leadership) and the way we played volleyball. It was a very memorable season for the seniors.”
The Wildcats finished with a 25-10 record in 2012.
The highlight of the year had to be handing North Suburban Conference champion Vernon Hills its only conference loss of the season.
“We had an excellent practice leading into the match, and I knew that our guys really wanted to win against Vernon Hills,” Aubin said. “I remember the excitement and enthusiasm our guys played with. They wanted to win so much.”
Kopacz said Libertyville performed that night at its highest level of the season.
“We had just lost to them at the Lake County Invitational, and we came out and jumped on them,” Kopacz said. “We served pretty well and they couldn’t work the middle. It was a night where everything clicked. It seemed like we could have beaten any team in the state.”
Aubin expects this year’s group to stay close.
“Their friendship and camaraderie will transcend this season,” he said. “It will be something they have for the rest of their lives, just like I had.”
A great example of Libertyville’s chemistry? For the second consecutive year, the Wildcats won the ZONI Sportsmanship Award, which is voted upon by the conference referees.
“Every coach should be so lucky to have a group like this at least once in their career,” Aubin said.
Disappointing defeat: Fremd ended Libertyville’s season with a 25-19, 16-25, 25-21 victory in a regional semifinal. During the regular season, Libertyville defeated Fremd fairly easily.
“They snuck up on us in the first game,” Kopacz said. “In the third set, we played not to lose, and they blocked really well against us all night. They had one or two big blocks that really swung the momentum.”
League honors: Kopacz, Brandon Leatherwood and Stefan Vidovich each claimed a spot on the all-conference team.
Kopacz contributed 845 assists and 125 digs. Leatherwood posted a team-best 245 kills and 125 total blocks. Vidovich had 132 kills and 122 blocks. Stu Zacher (226 digs) earned honorable mention all-conference recognition.
Right direction: Tyler Erlandson and Griffin Rush were the Wildcats’ most improved players. They contributed 140 and 95 kills, respectively.
“From Day 1, the coaches recognized these were two guys who did everything right — from stretching and warming up to the way they practiced,” Aubin said. “Their attention to detail and discipline translated into success for both of them throughout the year.”