Boys volleyball: New Trier downs Wheaton North to take title at Warren

Warren hosted its annual boys volleyball invite on their Almond Road campus on the west end of Gurnee this weekend.

The two-day, 24-team competition began with eight three-team pools of play on Friday and was then broken down into a trio of flights of gold, silver, and bronze that set up the schedule for Saturday's finals.

All of which is a massive undertaking according of the tourney hosts, Blue Devils coach Brianne Honda.

"The tournament requires a lot of organization and teamwork with the athletic department," Honda said of the joint collaborative with athletic director Aimee Lonigro and tournament coordinator Beth Pier.

And when the finals got underway Saturday afternoon it featured the highest finisher of the 14 Daily Herald area schools, Wheaton North, in the title bout versus an undefeated New Trier unit who had returned to action this weekend after having not played in over a week during spring break.

Unfortunately for the Falcons it ran right up against an imposing Trevian front line of 6-foot-8 senior David Wolff, 6-6 senior Hudson Nachtwey and 6-6 junior Henry Brandenberger who were able to shake off any rust they might have had. New Trier held off a strong Wheaton North challenge in a 2-0 victory by scores of 25-11 and 29-27 to bring the championship plaque back to Winnetka with an overall mark of 7-0 on the young season.

"It's always tough to have those first games after spring break and I was really proud of them for staying focused, staying confident and (taking) everything in stride," New Trier coach Sue Ellen Haak said.

The Trevians showed their championship stride in game one by using a finishing kick in the form of a 12-1 run to obtain victory. It was highlighted by 3 kills and an assist by the Stanford-bound Wolff.

Game two, however, would prove to be a different story as those in attendance witnessed a back and forth battle that became as such courtesy of an 8-3 run by the Falcons (11-3) that tied the game at 13 on an Aidan Syswerda ace.

With Wheaton North ahead 21-19 after a 5-0 surge, perhaps the moment of the game took place when a serve by Falcon sophomore Greg Gallman, Jr. was ruled out of bounds when it had looked like it touched the line.

"That's the reality of the speed we play at," Wheaton North coach John Noe IV said. "Especially when you don't have line judges, so we kind of have the philosophy of the ball never lies. That's the way we train our brains to always focus on (getting) the next point and say the ball never lies, we'll get the next one."

The Trevians would come back to tie the game at 23 on a kill from senior Zach Yulish that set the stage for the match's pulse-pounding finish. There would be four more ties with a kill from Falcon junior Ben Boyce that evened things at 27 before New Trier junior Joseph Jackier would set up both Wolff (13 kills) and Brandenberger (6 kills) on consecutive scores that gave them match point and the title.

Glenbrook South (8-2) swept past Maine South (6-3) in two sets to finish third.

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