It was a long but ultimately productive day for St. Viator setter Vito Brunetti.
Brunetti, like many of his junior counterparts, spent Saturday morning and part of the afternoon taking his ACT college test before he was able to participate in the Rolling Meadows boys volleyball invitational.
He arrived to the Meadows gym close to 2 p.m., just in time to play in Viator's final two matches of the day and help lead the Lions to a Silver Division championship.
Addison Trail won the Gold title with a 25-12, 25-13 win over South Elgin.
"It was exhausting," said Brunetti of his ACT test, which started early in the morning. "It was hard not to be here with the team as well, and I know they had to play a lot of JV guys (in the early matches)."
Three of Brunetti's teammates also were taking the ACT so the Lions, like a lot of the other teams, were short players in pool play.
"The guys were a little inexperienced," said Brunetti, "so I know they ran into some problems. But later in the day we were able to pull things together and have a good tournament."
Elk Grove junior Geoffrey Dybicz, a 6-4 middle hitter, agreed with Brunetti that it was tough not being able to part of their team's morning competition.
"It was mentally draining," said Dybicz. "I haven't taken a six-hour test in I can't remember when."
Dybicz's return helped boost the Grens into the gold consolation match, where they fell in two games to Bartlett.
"It actually wasn't too bad," added the junior. "I have to give a lot of credit to our sophomores (who played early in the day), guys like Joey Gatziolis and Connor Emmerich. We had both starting middles out, and all those guys played well."
Host Rolling Meadows was able to advance to the Silver consolation game, where the Mustangs scored a hard-fought three-game win over Riverside-Brookfield.
Meadows coach, Tim Piatek, who's team captured the Mid-Suburban East title last year but graduated 12 seniors from that championship team, gave huge props to one of his returnees.
"Tom Srnak is our senior leader," said Piatek. "He's been a three year starter and his play this season has been exemplary. He leads by example, and I know it's tough for him to go from being an MSL East champion to a 2-6 record (going into to Saturday). Overall he's been very solid.
"I was happy with our play today – we lost to some very tough teams in Addison Trail, which was undefeated coming in, South Elgin and Viator."
In Viator's Silver title win over Fremd, the Lions took command midway through set one when Ethan Wolf stroked a kill that just fell in in the extreme right corner of the Vikings side of the floor. Mike Cieniawa followed that up with a spike that hit just before the line in the left corner.
Wolf and Ryan Schiller closed out game 1 by sharing a block kill, but then an authoritative kill in Game 2 by Fremd senior Andrew Larson gave the Vikings a 9-6 lead.
Coming right back, Viator ran off the next 7 straight points and didn't look back.
Wolf, a senior, hit a stellar 19 kills in the win over the Vikings while Brunetti was spectacular with 3 aces on 15-of-16 serving, 21 assists, and 9 digs.
"We were able to show everyone today," said Brunetti, "just how good Viator volleyball can be."