Kevin Beach supplied the twin defining moments of the St. Charles North historic victory Saturday afternoon at Hoffman Estates High School.
The North Stars, coming off a straight-sets loss to Downers Grove South, the eventual champion, in the semifinals of the IHSA boys state volleyball tournament, had few issues with Glenbrook South in the opening game of the third-place match.
St. Charles North seized command in the early stages of the second game, and Beach made sure of the North Stars' twin 25-20 victories.
On two separate occasions, Beach had vicious second-set kills from the back row to give St. Charles North leads of 16-8 and 18-9.
"We definitely came out more relaxed," said Beach, who led the North Stars with 23 kills on the day, including a match-high dozen in the third-place match. "We were playing more together as a team (against Glenbrook South). I felt good the entire match."
St. Charles North coach Todd Weimer would later joke about his team having the highest state finish by a boys program at St. Charles North "in a land-based sport."
The North Stars' bass fishing and swim teams also have earned state trophies.
But Weimer was all business when discussing the play of one of only two non-seniors on the roster.
"Beach was on fire out there," Weimer said.
Senior tri-captain Jonathan Orech also figured prominently in the Titans' straight-games demise.
Orech was one behind Beach for team kills lead with 11 put aways.
"We fed off of each other," Orech said of his teammates. "We have great team chemistry. We (the 12 seniors) all knew this was going to be our final match. We went all out."
Jeff Rollins' block matched the North Stars' largest second-set lead at 23-14, but Glenbrook South (26-12) would score four straight points.
But Beach ended any thought of a rubber game with an ace to set up match point.
Trevor Case had his only kill of the two 25-20 games to seal the North Stars' best finish in program history (32-7).
"We executed the game plan very, very well," Weimer said.
In the opening game, Orech had a kill to give St. Charles North the lead for good at 4-3.
Jack Harbaugh concluded the 8-4 St. Charles North run that Orech initiated, and Jake Hamilton had yet another North Stars kill to give the squad its largest first-set spread at 16-9.
The North Stars also benefited from the schools' lack of proximity.
"We didn't know much about St. Charles North," Glenbrook South senior Will Kozioski said.
"St. Charles did a nice job," Glenbrook South coach Tim Monahan said. "We came out a little flat."
In the North Stars' 18-25, 21-25 loss to Downers South, which defeated Lincoln-Way North in the championship match, Beach had 11 kills.
Orech added seven more for St. Charles North, but the remainder of the team could manage 8 combined kills against the Mustangs.