It all adds up for Palatine
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It was worth the wait for the Palatine boys volleyball team.
The Pirates were supposed to host Barrington a week ago Tuesday, but an electrical problem forced the closing of the school building and the postponement of the match until Thursday.
And in a wild scene reminiscent of the state final tournament, Palatine defeated visiting Barrington 25-15, 21-25, 25-23 in front of a large, enthusiastic crowd to earn a share of the Mid-Suburban West crown with the Broncos.
Both teams finished with 9-1 division records and split their season series, each match going three games.
The Pirates will advance to Wednesday's MSL championship match at Rolling Meadows game based on a point differential of just 1.
"This is the best experience I've had in any sport," said Palatine senior Brian Keough, who said that the Pirates were so excited to play the Broncos they tried to arrange to have the match moved to Barrington last week after their school shut down.
"To win it here in front of all of our fans, and all my friends and family who came out to watch is amazing."
Keough had 3 clutch blocks and a service ace, while teammate Danny Matijevic led the attack with a match high 14 kills.
Senior opposite Charlie Spry had 11 kills for Barrington.
"To be honest, there are a lot of disappointed guys on this team right now," said Broncos coach Rob Ridenour.
"They (Palatine) definitely had a homecourt advantage tonight," added Broncos senior outside hitter Kevin Eiring (7 kills). "I think we were a little nervous at the start, but once we were able to relax, we had lots of energy and were able to rally."
Palatine's fierce beginning saw them win the first set handily, but Barrington fought back and grabbed control of set two midway through after a block kill by Spry and a service ace from Tommy Soifer.
"I was proud of the way the kids came back," said Ridenour. "They gave a great effort in the second and third games."
The decisive set was tied at 22-22 when a big swing from Keough followed by a Broncos hitting error put Palatine on the doorstep of a win.
Spry got his final kill to close the gap, but a kill off the block by Jakub Niedzwiecki put the match in the win column for the home team as the Palatine student section rushed the court.
And after a few tense moments of feverish point calculations, it was confirmed that Palatine would head to its first MSL championship match since 2004.
Libero Christian Frahm, who Pirates coach Frank Stark said has "been phenomenal all season," finished with 20 digs, while setter Kyle Obernesser was 84-of-86 with 35 assists.
"I can't even put into words how good Kyle has been this year," added Stark.
Matijevic added 7 digs to along with his hitting total while teammate Tyler Kendzior contributed 7 digs and Kareem Anderson excelled with 8 kills.
"Like I've said all season," said Stark, "this is a great group of guys and they're extremely hard-working. It was a great environment in this gym tonight, something we haven't seen in awhile, and I'm so happy they could win it in front of their fans."
Prospect d. Elk Grove: The host Knights rallied to completed a 7-3 run through the Mid-Suburban East, good for second place.
Elk Grove won the first set 25-18 before Prospect bounced back and won 25-22, 25-17.
Jake Braceros (12 kills) and Jake Gatziolis (9) led the attack for the Grens (15-14, 3-7). Ray Kraus had 26 asissts, and Karl Freidenfelds was 17-for-18 serving with 2 aces.
Schaumburg d. Conant: Brad Norris had a team-best 5 kills to help the Saxons win 25-8, 25-14 and wrap up a 6-4 mark in the MSL West. Jeremy Musni had 20 assists, and Cameron Nolan and Stephen Knitter each served 2 aces for Schaumburg (15-16 overall).
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