Girls volleyball: Barrington sweeps Hersey in MSL title match

Mid-Suburban West Player of the Year Jenna Meitzler could not have been more pleased with how her Barrington's girls volleyball team ended its regular season.

"We don't have a lot of matches left so this was a big one for us and we were playing on our home court," said Meitzler, a setter/outside hitter, about her team's appearance in Thursday's 53rd annual Mid-Suburban League championship match.

In perfect fashion, Meitzler and her fellow seniors went out in a big way.

Meitzler's dump from the middle of the floor went over the net and fell for the match-winner in a 25-23, 25-22 triumph over East champion Hersey (22-8).

"I think we played with a lot of passion," said Meitzler after ringing up 7 kills and 11 assists for the MSL West champions (30-5) who went 10-0 in league play. "We really went out and worked hard."

The most successful school in the history of MSL title games won its 15th crown in 18 tries and its third in the last four seasons.

"It's amazing," said senior setter Gwen Adler, who had 13 assists and 1 ace. "This has been one of our goals from the beginning of the season. It's awesome to win it."

Adler is one of the seniors who has been part of four straight MSL West titles (one co-championship) and three MSL crowns.

"Every senior has been in the program for four division titles and three of those were conference champs," said Fillies coach Michelle Jakubowski, who has won four MSL titles in her 10 seasons. "The senior leadership of Gwen and Jenna and Berkeley (Ploder) has been phenomenal. They (Hersey) couldn't stop Berkeley (6 kills, 1 block)."

In Set 2, Ploder had 3 kills in a stretch of 6 points when the Fillies charged ahead 21-14 after trailing 8-6.

But as it did all match, Hersey wouldn't make things easy.

The Huskies got 5 straight service points from Sophia Rizzo and closed to within 21-20, getting the last 4 points on 3 kills from Claire van den Herik and a block from senior setter Eileen Wang-Chavez.

An ace by Meitzler made it 23-20 before van den Herick's kill got Hersey to within 23-21.

"I thought Claire played very well," said Hersey coach Laura Gerber, whose Huskies went 10-0 in league play in her first two seasons in the program. "And our serve-receive did a great job so we could run our offense. Everyone did their part and it's just a great precursor to where we are going to go for the playoffs."

Junior Addie Brookbank (7 kills, 7 digs and 1 ace) got the big kill late for Barrington when her crosscourt smash found the floor for a 24-22 lead before Meitzler's match-winner.

"I thought Addie stepped up," Jakubowski said. "She got the kill when we needed it. She went back and served aggressively and played great defense on the last 2 points. So I thought she did a really nice job."

An ace by Molly Kozak (5 digs, 2 aces) put Barrington in front 7-3 in Set 1 but the Huskies recovered and led 17-14 on a kill from Leah Nawrot.

The set was tied at 18, 19 and 20 before the hosts gained the lead for good at 21-20 on an ace from Addie Brookbank.

After a Hersey timeout, Whitney Mall's big block on an overpass made it 22-20.

Hersey got within 22-21 on van den Herik's kill.

However a service error and another kill from Mall made it 24-21.

Two hitting errors by the Fillies made it 24-23 before Meitzler quick set Ploder for the set winner.

"I thought the whole team played really well," said the MSL East Player of the Year Wang-Chavez. "Everyone kept fighting even when we were down. I'm just really proud of how we came through and never gave up, Keeping our energy the whole time really kept us close throughout the whole match. I think the whole team gained confidence because we proved we can execute. We just needed to keep fighting to the last ball and finish the game."

"I thought the girls played fantastic," Gerber added. "I couldn't be prouder, I felt they held their own the whole way."

Senior Mia Modugno served an ace for the Fillies while classmate Megan Bergquist added a kill.

Thursday was the 10th time since 2000 that Barington and Hersey played for the crown. Barrington won for the ninth time, having also earned crowns in 2000, 03, 04, 06, 11, 13, 21 and 22.

Barrington's only losses in the title match were in 1978, 1992 and 2005.

Hersey was making a record 28th appearance in the title match, many under retired hall of fame coach Nancy Lill, who was on hand to watch her former team.

  Hersey's Leah Nawrot (20) and Ola Wydamski (23) jump to block a hit by Barrington's Addie Brookbank (5) during Thursday's volleyball match in Barrington. Paul Valade/
  Barrington's Anna Gustafson (8) celebrates a point against Hersey during Thursday's volleyball match in Barrington. Paul Valade/
  Hersey's Eileen Chavez, second from right, celebrates a point with her teammates during Thursday's volleyball match against Barrington in Barrington. Paul Valade/
  Barrington's Whitney Mall stretches for the block against Hersey's Leah Nawrot during Thursday's volleyball match in Barrington. Paul Valade/
  Hersey's Ola Wydmanski (23) reacts to her team getting a point against Barrington during Thursday's volleyball match in Barrington. Paul Valade/
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