In only their first year in the league, the Chicago Untouchables pulled off an impressive run, finishing 7th in the regular season and making the cut for playoffs as part of the Final Eight. With a mix of first-year players from the Chicago area and players from the Tennessee Tyrants, Captain Mitch Wiskerchin has done well to bring his team as far as they did. Putting up the fight of their life in the quarterfinals, the Untouchables played some of their best volleyball in an exciting five-set match against Southern Exposure.
Starting off the match, the Untouchables caught Southern Exposure off guard and produced a sizeable lead of 21-13. With setter Moises Lopez setting his middles, Paul Bilanzic and Thomas Burrell were almost unstoppable right from the get-go. Southern Exposure having to commit in the middle threat, outside Jake Milnaziak was also able to have success taking advantage of one-on-one situations on the pin. Additionally, opposite Kyle Schwede started to come into his own, showcasing his high swing, which proved lethal to Exposure’s defense.
The second set saw a much closer fight, with the Untouchables unable to take on more than a three-point lead as Southern Exposure began to work better as a team. But the Untouchables defense picked up with solid blocking from outside Will Ragland and Bilanzic, followed by some scrappy defense in the backcourt from libero Juan Rosa Melendez. A highlight of the set was at 24-23 on the Untouchables game point after a solid rally. Ragland housed Exposure’s Jakub Ciesla Straight down, sending everyone on the Untouchables court into an explosion of celebration.
For sets three and four, Southern Exposure turned on the burners on offense and serving. At the same time, the Untouchables’ reception and defense couldn’t seem to adapt to the new pressure thrown their way. Despite their struggles in the backcourt, the Chicago squad stayed close behind Southern Exposure but struggled to produce offensively, being out of system and couldn’t take the lead. To try and change up the game’s flow, Wiskerchin was subbed into the mix in the fourth after the team was behind 14-20. The captain made an immediate impact, but the substitution was too late to change the course of the set.
In the fifth set, the Untouchables caught a spark of life with their captain on the court, with the defenders to get dig after dig, allowing Wiskerchin to keep going back Burrell and Milnaziak. With almost every point becoming a spectacular rally, the Untouchables gave everything they had to take game point twice, at 14-13 and 15-14. However, in the end, a string of hitting errors as the team tried to terminate on every swing, rather than playing the point out, let Exposure back in to take the set in extra points at 19-17.
“We jumped off to a fantastic start with big rallies, great serving, and excellent defense. It didn’t go our way in the end, and that’s unfortunate. But we’ve picked ourselves up and are motivated and determined to work and keep getting better. I believe that we as a team are very proud of how the season went. We would have loved to have a better record, but this is why we play the game! With a youthful team splashed with some good experience, we have seemingly exponential room for growth, and that’s a pretty inspiring feeling.” – Mitch Wiskerchin, Coach/Captain
Make sure to go and watch the Chicago Untouchables’ final match of the 2021 season by going onto the NVA USA page of Youtube!
Be sure to follow the Team Freedom (@untouchables_nvausa) and the NVA (@nvausa) on Instagram to get updates on your favorite team as they get ready to come back again next year 2022 season. It’s sure to be the best one yet!
- NVA Staff Writer
#9 Jake Milnaziak – 17 points (16 kills, 1 Block)
#11 Kyle Schwede – 15 points (14 kills, 1 Block)
#16 Paul Bilanzic – 10 Points (7 Kills, 3 Blocks)
#18 Thomas Burrell – 10 Points (7 Kills, 3 Blocks)
#13 Will Ragland – 9 Points (7 Kills, 2 Blocks)