Boys volleyball: Glenbard West sweeps South Elgin in regional final
A combination of team chemistry and preparation propelled Glenbard West to a two-set victory (25-11, 25-21) over South Elgin to win its eight regional crown in row at Geneva Thursday.
The Hilltoppers, who finished third in the state last year, advance to the Schaumburg sectional and will face Conant in the first semifinal on Saturday.
"I think our chemistry was really on point today. We would get on runs and our hitting percentage was really high," said Glenbard West senior Sam Alles. "We knew what was coming on the other side of the net, so we were able to counter act it with strong offensive power."
Glenbard West coach Christine Giunta-Mayer was glad to see her team come together.
"We are trying to get our chemistry back. We haven't been all together all year," she said. "I thought that was nice that we're all here today. They had really good leadership today and came out ready to play."
The Hilltoppers dominated the first set. The Storm tied it early at 2-2, but then Glenbard West (34-3) took over going on a 15-2 run that ended with a Gavin Swartz (seven kills) spike. South Elgin finally found its pace and scored seven more points but could not overcome the Hilltoppers' lead.
"There are a great team, they're going to get their points. We needed to keep up with them and score as many points as we could in the first set," South Elgin coach Jesse Bossenga said. "We fell a little bit behind in that first game. We had to get our rhythm and I think we did it at the end."
One key to the first set win was the Hilltoppers doing their homework before the match according to Swartz.
"We scouted and prepared for the match. We spend a bunch of hours in the film room studying and learning what they were doing out there and it really paid off during the first set," the senior said.
Hitting its stride, South Elgin was more competitive in the second set. The Storm took a 5-3 lead on one of Michael Hankins' six kills. A Danny Dorsey strike (five kills, three blocks) put Glenbard West back on top, 6-5. South Elgin's Sean Harvey (nine kills, four digs) tied the set again at 6-6 with a spike.
Swartz responded with a kill that returned the lead for good to the Hilltoppers, South Elgin stayed close but could not close the gap.
The last of Hilltopper Liam O'Neill's nine kills put the set at match point. A Storm hitting error clinched the set and the match for Glenbard West.
"We weren't blocking as well as we should have but we fixed it toward the end," said Giunta-Mayer. "We were just siding out so well, and we were passing well. We just needed a couple more points and we found where to get them."
"In the second game we played tough, we responded well, and we took care of the ball," Bossenga said. "We did the things we needed to do but unfortunately we came up a little short."
"It was really a tough battle. I just think I just think it came down to errors," Galanes said. "I'm really proud of the team and how we how we played especially in the second set. We put up a really good fight and they just made less errors."
In addition to seven kills, Galanes had 11 assists and four digs.
South Elgin, which tied Bartlett for the Upstate Eight Conference title, finished the season with a 25-8 record. Kyle Aluquin and Caiden Kapruan both notched five digs for the Storm while teammate Ryan Vo tallied 12 assists.
Kenny Gibson had eight digs for Glenbard West and classmate Trevor Powell earned 34 assists.