Photo by Noah Slowik.
Lewis volleyball alumni BJ Buldog (right) and Patrick Lilly (left) speak to youth volleyball players at
Breaker Volleyball Club.
A local youth volleyball organization, Breaker Volleyball Club of Naperville, is excited with the addition of three Lewis men’s volleyball alumni on their staff: BJ Boldog ‘14, Lucas Yanez ‘15, and Patrick Lilly ‘16. Boldog is entering his second year as owner and director of the club, as well as co-owner and co-director of another local program, Pipeline Volleyball Club of Palatine. Yanez is in his first year with Breaker and Pipeline as co-director of the programs. Lilly is entering his second year as coach of the top 18-year-old team at Breaker.
According to Boldog, he implements practice plans for the middle school and high school volleyball players that are similar to the types of practices he performed during his time with the Flyers. “Dan Friend runs a fantastic program at Lewis,” he said. “Many of the drills we do are variations of things we would do at Lewis.”
By modelling the practices off of the same training that would be done by collegiate athletes, Boldog is preparing the local youths to play at one of the highest levels of volleyball in the world.
As a native of Palatine, Boldog said it is incredibly nice to be back in a volleyball atmosphere that is close to home again. A few years ago, he spent one year playing overseas with Chemie Volley Mitteldeutschland in Germany. “I either wanted to do one year and be done, or turn it into a full career,” said Boldog.
After paying his professional dues overseas, he decided that he was getting a little burned out from playing volleyball. Luckily for Boldog, the position of director at Pipeline and Breaker opened up about a year after his return to the states from Europe. Evidently, he hopped on that opportunity to work with the local talent right away.
Boldog, Yanez and Lilly take advantage of all stemming from the same program at Lewis.
“I know what he’s going to say before he says it,” said Lilly, “and we have the same attitudes toward planning for practice.” The three of them are very comfortable with each other’s playing styles; therefore, they are able to mesh well together when coaching in tournaments and practices.
However, Yanez, a native of Burbank, Calif. and Lilly, a native of East Northport, N.Y. aren’t able to enjoy the same luxury of remaining in a volleyball atmosphere that is close to home.
Still, these two Flyer alumni have made their mark in the Midwest as some of the top volleyball players in the area. They hope to pass some of their passion and knowledge of the game onto the local student-athletes.