Mike Hovick is the epitome of a team player.
Every thing, the O’Fallon volleyball does on the volleyball court centers on his teammates.
But much of this O’Fallon senior’s early success on the court this year comes back to this powerful hitter.
This spring, Hovick, 18, is hoping to help his Panthers get another shot at a state title after last year’s tough loss in the quarterfinals to Vernon Hills. Vernon Hills defeated O'Fallon 29-31, 26-24, 25-20.
Playing the underdog role has suited the O’Fallon quite nicely during the 2015 boys volleyball season. After graduating several seniors from a team which won 29 matches a year ago, there weren’t many people outside the city limits of O’Fallon who gave the Panthers much of a chance.
The same thing about this year’s O’Fallon bunch.
But Hovick believes the Panthers, which entered Tuesday’s match against Edwardsville with a 12-4-2 overall record and a perfect 6-0 record in the Southwestern Conference, would no longer be considered any underdog if they advance to state this spring.
Rather, Hovick believes the Panthers might be one of the favorites to win the tourney.
If so, it would be the first-ever state the O’Fallon boys volleyball team has ever won.
Rather believes that is an achievement his Panthers deserve.
Hovick is doing everything in his power to lead to O’Fallon back to state for their second consecutive year.
He entered Tuesday’s match against Edwardsville with a 89.68 serving percentage, and had 10 aces. He also had 71 kills, and had 38 blocks.
He was also looking forward to set the game’s tone early with a block. As Hovick sees it, a big block is the best way to deliver a message to his opponents.
“When you get a huge block, it’s always gets the crowd screaming,” he said.
On June 27, Mike, the son of James and Julie Hovick, plans to embark a big journey in his life. The 18-year-old will start a four-year career with the U.S. Coast Guard, where he plans to major in marine engineering. He’d someday like to become a helicopter pilot. “I have always wanted to be a helicopter pilot,” he said.
Hovick believes his stint in the Coast Guard will provide him an opportunity to do just that. He also hopes to continue playing club volleyball. In the meantime, Hovick will be continuing to pursue his mission of winning a state volleyball title.