Barrington's Mike Amato stood calmly at the service line with the Mid-Suburban League boys volleyball championship hanging in the balance.
The Broncos, on their home court, led Hersey 27-26 in game three and were trying to hold off a frenzied Huskies rally.
And Amato was ready for his big moment.
"I just wanted to get the ball in," said the outside hitter, "try to serve it where Coach R (Rob Ridenour) told me to, then be ready to play free volleyball and not worry about making errors."
And right on cue, Amato's and his Barrington teammates' worries were over as soon as the ball flew over the net.
The serve got past the Hersey defense for an ace as the West Division champions won the MSL title with an 18-25, 24-15, 28-26 victory over East champion Huskies.
The win gave Barrington a bit of revenge as the Broncos had recently given up a late lead and lost to Hersey in tournament play at Glenbrook North.
"I have to give the credit for this win to our serve receive down the stretch," said Ridenour. "That was the difference."
Libero Indy Nenn led the Broncos with an outstanding 2.31 serve receive ratio, while Bart Migus (MSL East co-player of the year) slammed 12 kills for Hersey.
"Too many unforced errors in the third set," said Huskies coach Nancy Lill. "You can't let that happen."
After suffering through a nightmarish first set, the Broncos turned the tables in set two by taking Hersey out of its system.
"We started serving into the seams and that turned the match around," said Barrington senior Connor Wright (match-high 14 kills). "We wanted to win this very badly and we weren't about to let it slip away."
With Wright and teammate Colin Castagna (West player of the year) getting the first 6 points, the Broncos stormed to a 9-1 lead in the deciding set.
But Hersey wasn't done.
The Huskies fought back and went to match point after a block kill by Migus and Mike Fuerst gave the visitors a 26-25 lead.
"It was nervous time at that point, to say the least," said Wright. " Hersey's defense is amazing -- it seemed like every time we thought 'I've got that one' the ball didn't get down. But we kept thinking about how unhappy we were when we lost to them at Glenbrook and we wanted to make sure that didn't happen again."
Barrington then got the sideout to tie the game and took the lead on a big block from Castagna, setting the stage for Amato's heroics.
"I give our kids a lot of credit for fighting back the way they did," said Lill. "It showed a lot of character. Unfortunately we couldn't make the plays when we needed to."
Hersey junior Peter Wesolowski was 15-for-15 on serve with an ace, while Barrington's Justin Glader hit 9 kills and setter Noah Ricchetti contributed 30 assists.
"I give all the credit in the world to Hersey tonight," said Ridenour. "They're a fantastic defensive team, and after that run we made to start the third game they really battled back."
"We knew their defense is great," added Amato. "We just wanted to come out and play volleyball the way we know how to play."