Barrington volleyball coach Rob Ridenour called it "an unbelievable match."
Lake Park coach Tim Murphy said he couldn't ask any more from his guys than going as long as they did in three games against the bigger Broncos.
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Barrington outlasted the Lancers in a thrilling slugfest 23-25, 25-17, 28-26 in the state quarterfinals at Hoffman Estates on Friday to advance to Saturday's 11 a.m. semifinal against Wheaton Warrenville South.
"Lake Park played as good defense as we've seen all year," said Ridenour. "Every time we thought we had an advantage on a point they wound up winning the point. They dug about 150 balls tonight."
Early in Game 1, the Broncos (33-6) top offensive threat, Tommy Leonard, went to the sidelines with an injury (he came back later in the match) and Lake Park (27-11) jumped all over the Broncos, who were having problems making adjustments.
Lake Park took the lead at 6-5 and the Lancers were never caught in that game as they opened the margin to 20-13. The Broncos went on several small runs to cut the deficit to 24-23 before a Mike Dickerson kill ended the game.
But Barrington juniors Charlie Spry and Peter Van Fossan dominated the second game with Spry getting 5 of his team-high 12 kills and Van Fossan putting down 5 of his 9 kills and a block to even the match at one game apiece.
"We would have loved to keep the momentum going in the second game," said Lake Park's Brian Fischer, who finished with 11 kills. "But Barrington played an amazing game."
Game 3 went down as an instant classic with 17 ties and most of the game played with the teams within a point of each other.
Lake Park took the lead at 20-18 on a Dillon Hock kill and looked to be in control until a kill apiece by Kevin Eiring and Taylor Ganzer of Barrington tied it at 20-20.
And then it was neck-and-neck down the stretch before Van Fossan and Ganzer each came up with a kill to end it at 28-26.
"It hurts to come so close," said Lake Park setter Dave Prentis. "We're right there the whole time and it just slips away. But you can't have regrets. Barrington made the plays at the end and we didn't."
"We've been focusing on defense," said Murphy. "When we play the kind of defense we played tonight, we usually win. Our guys played with heart and they all played for the other five guys on the court."
Dickerson was the match's kill-leader with 13.
"We were calm, cool and collected tonight," said Dickerson. "We counted on our heart and our defense to pull us through. We were really relishing going against Wheaton Warrenville South in the next round."
Ridenour lauded his players for "a lot of gutty performances."
"Spry was putting the ball on the floor on Lake Park's side of the court all night," said Ridenour. "Tommy was unbelievable coming back at the end after being injured. Van Fossan moved over to the number one middle and played great, and Austin Czarnecki's calmness on the court was exactly what we needed from a leader. His leadership was picture perfect."
"We were a little nervous but confident in the last game," said Czarnecki. "Every time we set Spry he got a kill. Our hitters were the ones who were pulling our team along in that game."