Senior Sunley gets things up for H-F volleyball

Lane Sunley is bouncy.

The Homewood-Flossmoor senior’s head-above-the-net kills prove the slang descriptor applies, but he’s also literally bouncy. On the court, he’s always hopping and jumping around. Vikings coach Mark Ciesielski calls him the team’s “energizer bunny.” 

Senior Lane Sunley brings the energy for Homewood-Flossmoor
volleyball. (David P. Funk/H-F Chronicle)

Sunley is the first to congratulate a teammate after a big play, flexing a bicep to celebrate. When he puts down a big spike or gets an important block, he lets the whole gym know.

“That’s my biggest role on the team. I try to bring everyone up and make sure we’re having a good time out there,” Sunley said. “When I was a kid, the guys I looked up to would always bring my spirits up. I think it’s very important on a team to have someone like that.”

Ciesielski agrees. He said Sunley’s demeanor can be intimidating for opponents, but it’s all fun for H-F. 

“He brings it. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, what the score is, Lane is up,” Ciesielski said. “You can’t teach that. Lane is excited to be there. He genuinely wants to be at practice. He genuinely wants to be at the games. If you watch him at games, he’s crazy.”

Maybe more intimidating is Sunley’s vertical leap. He never measured exactly how high he can jump, but said it’s been a workout focus over the last few years. He credits Adam Vogel and the H-F performance staff. The results are easy to see.

Sunley can get up.

“I’ve been working on my vertical every year. I’m always focusing on my legs so I can jump higher,” he said. “I’ve gotten a lot stronger.” 

It’s not just jumping for jumping’s sake, either. Sunley produces, to the tune of 101 kills and 55 blocks, as of May 14. He also had 15 aces and 14 digs.

Against Bolingbrook May 15, Sunley came up big with key blocks and a kill in a 5-0 run that allowed the Vikings to take control of the first game. They went on to win 25-20, 25-22 to extend the winning streak to five. 

Sunley hopes to continue that sort of play at the next level. He signed with Illinois Wesleyan, where he’ll major in business.

“I chose Wesleyan because of the great academics. I really wanted to focus on what I’d be doing before college and past college,” he said. “I’m going to keep on playing middle and keep bring energy.” 

Sunley is part of the first senior class to play for Ciesielski for four years at H-F. It’s a close group. The Vikings spend time together outside of practice and games. They went bowling this spring. 

Cisielski said it’ll be difficult to see them graduate.

“They’re just a fun group,” Ciesielski said. “Hopefully we have some success to end the year that’ll make it a little bit nicer.” 

H-F will open the regional with Tinley Park on May 20. The likely regional semifinal opponent is Lincoln-Way Central, which the Vikings topped 27-25, 25-20 on May 9. Ciesielski said on May 15 that his team had just a few details to clean up to be ready for the postseason.

The Vikings will host the regional, which Sunley said gives them an advantage. 

“That’s going to be good for us,” he said. “These home games, with our crowd, that’s really helped us this year.” 

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