Glenbard West used its height to overcome a strong Lake Park team, 26-24, 25-19, to win third place at the IHSA state tournament on Saturday at Hoffman Estates.
The Hilltoppers lost earlier in the day to Warren and the Lancers lost their semifinal to Lincoln-Way East to set up the match for third place.
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"We haven't been the best in third- and fourth-place matches throughout the season," said Lancers coach Tim Murphy. "It was a heartbreaker (losing to Lincoln-Way East 19-25, 25-20, 25-20) this morning. I told the guys whoever wants it more is going to get it this afternoon. Whoever can recoup in between time and get ready to play that third- or fourth-place match was going to get the job done. It wasn't us today."
The first game was tightly matched. The Hilltoppers (35-7) took its first lead 13-12 and went on a 6-1 run to make the score 19-13. The Lancers fought back to tie the score at 23-23 before the Hilltoppers shut them down and won 26-24.
"Mentally in the first game we were there," the Lancers' Shawn Fritsche said. "They blocked real well. They adjusted to our quickness of our offense. We just wanted a trophy. We're happy with it, but we think we could have done better."
The Hilltoppers found the range in the second game to open a 20-14 lead.
The Lancers (33-8) rallied but the effort fell short.
"It definitely made us think," said Hilltoppers sophomore Kyler Kotsakis. "They have an amazing defense. We just kept punching and eventually broke them. I feel like we had the energy in that second game and that's when we knew we were going to win. We had a big lead and they came back. We settled down, got another run and figured out it from there."
Kotsakis had 10 kills and joined Peter Scruggs and Parker Swartz on the front line creating too much height for the Lancers.
"We had a little height advantage," said Hilltoppers coach Christine Giunta-Mayer. "We just played smooth. When we play smooth we can get on runs. And when we get on runs there's no stopping these guys."
"I think it was a good day that ended well," Kotsakis said. "We knew they were a really good team. We didn't really scout them that much. We just kind of said let's go out and have some fun. We played really well as a team and that was our goal. We knew it was our last game."