Boys volleyball: Junior Drake Johnson didn’t see much action Saturday at Vernon Hills’ invitational, where the Ramblers went 2-3. But the 6-foot-7 right-side hitter is a big part of the team’s plans going forward, according to Loyola head coach Lionel Ebeling. “He’s coming into his own,” Ebeling said. “I anticipate using him more and more as the season progresses.” Johnson, a left-handed hitter, is in his second year on varsity and started Loyola’s first three matches. He has nine kills, three blocks and three digs in six sets. “I am feeling more comfortable this season,” Johnson said. “I didn’t play much last year.” Johnson missed his entire freshman season of volleyball after breaking his left knee during the football season. It required three surgeries, the last one coming during his sophomore year. “I wear a brace, but it’s all better now,” Johnson said. At Vernon Hills, senior outside hitter Matt Byrne had 44 kills and senior setter Jim Dunbar finished with 104 assists. The Ramblers (3-4) open Catholic League play Tuesday on the road against De La Salle. They play at Brother Rice on Thursday.
Girls water polo: Seniors Sophia Brouwer, Emma Kyle and Meg Vanecko are three reasons why head coach Kim Przekota is excited about the prospects for this season. “We are short on experience, but the players on our team have a lot of enthusiasm to learn,” she said. “We are getting better with every game, and that makes it fun to coach. We will be playing our best by the end of the year.” Brouwer and Kyle are captains. Brouwer leads the Ramblers (8-5, 2-2 MCAC) in goals. Kyle, meanwhile, is a leader in the water, according to Przekota. Although Vanecko is in her first year as a goalie, Przekota said “she has good instincts.” Przekota married into a Chicago-area water polo family. From Oregon, she went to Iona College, where she met several of the Przekotas, including her husband, Chris Przekota. Kim is one of four Przekotas who are head water polo coaches in the area. John Przekota and Kristie Przekota both coach at Niles West, and Peter Przekota coaches at Maine East.