Finishing third in the very competitive Blue Devil Invite on Saturday were the Lakes Eagles. They toppled Evanston 25-22, 25-22 to claim that high honor.
"Yeah, in the bronze division,'' said a sarcastic Katie Cheek, Lakes head coach.
OK, so this is not your father's Blue Devil Classic. Not only did local powers Vernon Hills and Buffalo Grove show up, but also the top ranked team in the state, Lincoln-Way East.
"This is a tough tournament,'' Cheek said. "It's really good."
The Eagles certainly have a strong weapon in new right side hitter, Dalton Solbrig. Yes, he's the younger brother of former Eagle Mason Solbrig.
"He does a really good job,'' Cheek said. "He shows his strength. We just moved him to the right side."
Solbrig's busy day included taking the ACT in the morning and playing three volleyball matches in this tourney.
"So far, we are having a solid year,'' Solbrig said. "And I'll take third in the bronze."
This invitational broke teams up in three divisions after the first day. On Saturday night, yes the tourney went into the evening, coach Matt Aiello's Buffalo Grove Bison claimed fourth place in the distinguished gold division.
Dropping the third place battle to New Trier, 26-24-25-18 did not dampen Aiello's positive vibes about this tourney. It's still early in the volleyball season but the Bison have already reached 12 wins.
"We saw some really good competition here,'' Aiello said. "And they added five new teams who have never been in it."
BG had good play from outside hitter Kevin Shanahan. He may stand just 6 feet but he can pound the volleyball.
"He jumps about 35 inches,'' Aiello noted.
Aiello also applauded the efforts of 6-6 Nikita Bulauski.
Not everyone reported good news. Vernon Hills dropped all three matches today. And a mishap at the tourney knocked out one of its players. The Cougars went three sets with both MSL foes Buffalo Grove and Prospect.
"We played very well early against Buffalo Grove, but we can't get out of our own way sometimes,'' said VH coach Chris Curry. "Until our effort is consistent point to point and opponent to opponent, we're going to struggle. We don't serve tough enough all the time, but we can fix that."
Home-standing Warren may have invited all the powers but the Devils had lost only once heading to the fifth-place game. Warren brought back setter Arvind Kouta, and he has plenty of weapons at his disposal.
"We are just a great group of friends,'' Kouta said.
Warren stopped Prospect 25-20, 25-23. The Devils had big hits Bryant Holland, Jeremy White and Mitch Maan de Kok.
It wasn't a great tourney for Carmel as coach Kevin Nylen's team finished 1-4.
"We just struggled with consistency,'' Nylen said. "When we are playing well, we can play with anybody. When we make a few mistakes, we end up digging a hole that we can't overcome. We just had too many errors."
The same tale could be told at Mundelein. The Mustangs dropped three-set matches to both Prospect and Stevenson.
"We would start strong,'' said Mundelein coach George Dressen. "We would be playing with a lot of confidence. And then we would hit a bump in the road and lose our momentum."