Trevor Crain missed most of last season while nursing a broken foot. Fortunately for Stagg, its No. 1 outside hitter is back and ready to break something else: the backs of opponents.
Crain finished with six kills — including a few of the highlight variety — as the visiting Chargers earned a 25-21, 25-15 victory over St. Rita on Thursday.
“My first games back were in summer league for the school, and it didn’t seem like I missed a beat,” Crain said.
At 5-8, he isn’t the most intimidating presence at the net, but watch a few plays and his 34-inch vertical and smooth swing catch the eye.
“Jumping is my main focus workout wise,” Crain said. “Hitting comes natural.”
Joining Crain on the outside was Kamil Krzysiak, who led Stagg (2-0) with seven kills. Sean Runyon recorded 11 digs, Nick Stanek dished 24 assists and middle hitter Tom Matonis had six kills and three blocks, including a pair of back-to-back blocks in the second set that gave Stagg a 19-14 lead.
Tim Dunleavy posted eight kills and Nick Spallina had four for St. Rita (0-2). John Regan contributed eight digs and Jake Marquardt had 16 assists.
St. Rita stormed out of the gates and took a 7-1 first-set lead, but Stagg tied it at 8-8 after Krzysiak went off a blocker. The first set featured six ties, with the last being broken by a kill from Chris Kladis, giving Stagg a 15-14 lead.
“Our problem right now is starting off slow,” Stagg coach Lauren Royer said. “That isn’t going to fly against some of the really tough teams — especially this weekend. We need to get ourselves going in the beginning of the game, not just the end.”
Stagg and St. Rita are both slated to compete in the Marist Invitational on Friday and Saturday. Some of the state’s top teams will be in attendance, including Lincoln-Way North and Lincoln-Way East.
St. Rita was in striking distance midway through the second set, but it was too many attack errors for coach Ryan Biros' relatively unseasoned team.
“It was nice to see them get excited (with the early lead),” Biros said, “but once the problems started kicking in, it was one after another. A lot of the guys don’t have much varsity experience, so their nerves are getting to them a little bit.”