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Ben and Alex Rosenow, whose dad baseball played at Northwestern, lead Oswego past Naperville North in volleyball. – Chicago Tribune

As the sons of a former Northwestern baseball player, Oswego triplets Ben, Alex and Sam Rosenow spent a lot of time on the diamond growing up.

The three seniors are making their father, Eric, proud as each will follow him into college sports.

That sport, however, won’t be baseball.

Ben and Alex will play volleyball at Indiana Tech, a NAIA school in Fort Wayne, while Sam is headed to Waubonsie Community College to play golf.

Ben, a 6-foot-6 outside hitter, and Alex, a 5-11 libero, have led the Oswego boys volleyball team this spring to a program-record 28 wins.

“We were three-sport athletes last year,” Ben said. “We played hockey and travel baseball too, and then starting this year, it was just volleyball.”

Ben took over the match Wednesday in a Downers Grove North Regional semifinal, leading all players with 16 kills as the fifth-seeded Panthers rallied to beat 12th-seeded Naperville North 28-30, 25-10, 25-14.

Ben and Alex first started playing volleyball in seventh grade, when their middle school added the sport. But they didn’t play together for the Panthers until last season.

“I played baseball my freshman year,” Alex said. “It was between that and volleyball. My dad played at Northwestern, so I was like, ‘I’ll give baseball a shot.’ I hated it.”

Ben, meanwhile, was having a blast playing volleyball for the freshman team, which went undefeated. Alex took notice.

“I didn’t have to do too much recruiting,” Ben said. “He really didn’t like baseball.”

The brothers prefer volleyball for the nonstop action.

“With volleyball, everything is interesting,” Ben said. “There’s so much going on and there’s something new you do every time.

“Baseball and hockey are kind of repetitive in what you can do.”

The Rosenows can do a lot of things on the volleyball court but impact the match in different ways.

Ben leads the Panthers (28-5) with 326 kills and 35 aces and is third in digs with 107. Alex is a defensive whiz with a team-best 232 digs. He’s also adept at serving, ranking first in service points with 164 and third in aces with 19.

“It’s great having them around,” Oswego coach Frank Martinez said. “Alex leads us through warm-ups and all that fun stuff, and Ben is like, ‘Hey, give me the ball. I want to take over.’”

“As the match went on, he got better,” Naperville North coach Nate Bornancin said of Ben Rosenow. “He was taking a little bit off his swings, finding corners. He was hitting much smarter and that hurt us.”

Manny Matel-Sanchez had six kills and freshman setter Ermuun Batchuluun added 17 assists to lead the Huskies (16-21) in their final match under Bornancin, who’s retiring after 12 seasons with a 236-194 record, including a second-place state trophy in 2011.

“I’m really proud of the way the guys played,” Bornancin said. “But Oswego is a really strong team. They play hard and defended really well.”

The Rosenows play well together despite slight differences. Ben is seven inches taller than Alex but six minutes younger, while the 6-0 Sam is “the middleman” as Alex puts it.

Alex doesn’t mind being shorter than Ben.

“I will always be older than him,” Alex joked. “I’ll always have that on him.”

Ben and Alex will always have each other off the court, and for four more years, on the court. They turned down Division I offers to commit to Indiana Tech, which went 29-3 this season in qualifying for the NAIA national tournament.

Ben, an aspiring coach, plans to major in sports management. Alex wants to study biomedical engineering. They would not be as successful without the other.

“We hold each other accountable,” Ben said. “Even in the game today, we were holding each other accountable for mistakes and stuff.

“It was great to have someone tell me what I was doing wrong.”

Matt Le Cren is a freelance reporter for the Naperville Sun.

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