The Western New York volleyball factory keeps churning out winning products.
Sweet Home and Eden added to Section VI's impressive displays in state competition by winning intersectional titles last month at Liverpool. And the 1990 Coaches All-Western New York Team consists of six members of the gold medal Western Region squad at last summer's Empire State Games. At least four of them could end up playing at Division I colleges.
Perhaps the most complete player of the group is Lake Shore's Brian Nowak, a 6-foot-3 package of power who had the Eagles (32-2) ranked No. 1 until a loss to Eden in the Class B sectional final.
"He's a total player," said coach Lance Harrison. "He's an excellent spiker, a great passer and blocker."
Nowak, who had an exceptional kill percentage of more than .500, is considering schools such as Navy, Stanford, Penn State, Ohio State and Ball State. He hopes to study marine biology and oceanography.
Sweet Home's Neil Mendel, a 6-6 middle blocker and outside hitter, connected on 93.5 percent of his serves, an outstanding figure for a jump server. He also had 140 kills and 491 blocks for the Class A intersectional champions.
"His strength is on the attack. He will just hit over blockers," said Sweet Home coach Glen McClary, whose star is being pursued by many schools, with Stanford among the leading contenders.
Eden's Paul Wilczewski, one of three brothers to play for coach Joe Gillespie's Raiders, was the main hitter for the Class B titlists. He was successful on more than 55 percent of his hits and utilized outstanding body control to lead the team with 105 digs.
Cleveland Hill's Matt Lexner, a 6-5 outside hitter, had a .653 kill percentage and was the Eagles' top serve receiver.
He shouldered much of the burden for the Cleveland Hill attack after star setter Brad Kadow was sidelined for the year with a broken collarbone. Ball State and Ohio State are among the interested.
Kenmore West's Jason Killock was the Blue Devils' chief setter and led the team to a 15-5 record with 186 kills. Ball State and New York University may be among the interested.
"He's a left-hander and not a lot of teams have one," said coach Roger Williams. "It diversified things for us to have a big hitter coming from that side.
Orchard Park's Mike Rauh was not expected to be an All-Western New York-type player. But coach Walt Stefani said persistence was a key for the Quakers' top hitter (.662 percentage).
"This was just plain old hard work," said Stefani. "He's an overachiever, a great success story."
The 6-2 Rauh, who had a .947 percentage on 209 serves, is an outstanding student who likely will attend college and study a pre-med course.
Stefani was named coach of the year after leading Orchard Park to a 17-2 record, including 14-0 in the Erie County Interscholastic Conference. His club was 18-4 in 1989, including a 13-1 league mark.