IHSA board of directors OKs state series for boys volleyball this spring

Marist was the last boys state volleyball champion crown by the IHSA back in 2019. (Photo by Dave Ruggles).

It’s on.

The IHSA board of directors Wednesday approved a full state series for boys’ volleyball, adding the sectional and state final levels.

Regional tournaments will be held June 7-10. The eight traditional boys’ volleyball sectionals will take place Saturday, June 12 and Tuesday, June 15. Sites are still being finalized. Schools that are interested in hosting are asked to contact Stacy Lambert slambert@ihsa.org at the IHSA as soon as possible.

“We’re obviously relieved,” said Vernon Hills coach Chris Curry. “All the ‘What ifs?’ from last year are still hard for the guys to process, especially the graduates. It’s good that this group will be able to play it out, to know where they stand by actually playing the matches and not just wondering.

“It now lets us all focus on getting better every day rather than having to wonder if there’s even a tournament to get ready for,” he added.

The state finals will take place Friday-Saturday, June 18-19. The IHSA promises to make more information about the state final location shortly.

“First off, you feel a sense of relief for the kids,” said Lincoln-Way East coach Kris Fiore, who guided the Griffins to a state title in 2018. “Many of them have put in a lot of hours of hard work with the hope that they can play high school playoff volleyball.

“I think many coaches are also relieved to have this opportunity so that we can keep the kids focused with some end-of-the-season goals on the horizon,” he added.

Oddly, the IHSA held its “rolling of the peas” to determine pairings for the state tournaments in baseball, softball and water polo on Tuesday prior to Wednesday’s announcement. Boys volleyball was not included during the event.

“I am very excited for all the coaches and student-athletes in Illinois, especially the seniors who have had so much of their high school experience taken from them,” said Jeff Lange, who led a letter-writing campaign to convince the IHSA to sponsor a state tournament.

“There are so many great teams in our state, and some of the best high school boys volleyball in the country is played here,” he added. “It is going to be a fantastic state series.”