Boys volleyball: Barrington finishes 4th at star-laden tournament

 
By Bill Esbrook
Daily Herald Correspondent

There were a multitude of former state finalist teams at Saturday's Barrington/Vernon Hills boys volleyball tournament.

The field included some past state champions, including Sandburg and Naperville North, and that made Barrington's fourth-place finish even more impressive.

Gabe Hartke led the Broncos in the Saturday session of the two-day tournament with 20 kills. Kyle Vasquez posted 35 digs and Ben Ridgway added 46 assists and 5 aces, but Barrington coach Rob Ridenour said that his team wasn't satisfied with its placement.

"We actually were a little disappointed with how we played today," said Ridenour.

The Broncos defeated Naperville North, Warren and Prosser in straight sets in pool play before falling to eventual titlist Loyola in the semifinals, then lost against Deerfield in the third-place match.

"We need to think about how we can play faster," added Ridenour, "and we've got to find some more offense from some guys. Definitely nice to get out and have these types of matches early in the year so we can find ways to get better."

Prospect started slow at the invite but scored wins in its final two matches, 3-set victories over Rolling Meadows and Libertyville.

In the match against the Wildcats, the Knights trailed game 3 by 4 points but went on a 7-point run midway through behind the service of sophomore Kevin Slawicki.

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Classmate Logan Hiskes closed out the match with a final kill.

"Started a little rough for us today but we came back," said Slawicki. "Good serving, better teamwork all together and we pulled through."

"We were pretty excited about these wins," said Knights coach Mike Riedy. "We had a really tough pool (Friday) -- Glenbard East (the runner-up), Plainfield Central playing great ball and Sandburg, a typical Sandburg team. We were pretty down coming in today, but we got a little bit of self confidence and energy."

Patrick Graham led the Libertyville effort for the tournament with 29 blocks, 14 digs and 5 aces. Alex Weick added 21 kills while Devon Hamilton posted 57 assists.

"We are just struggling a little with our consistency," said Libertyville coach Jennifer Smith. "When you can't keep things consistent it's hard to win. Certain sets today we played well. We played a tough set against Loyola -- we still lost, but started to get the communication thing down and then we started to execute on serve receive. That was really important for us, and we know we'll get better."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Host Vernon Hills, where the tourney was contested on Saturday, scored wins over Buffalo Grove and Libertyville, while Buffalo Grove got a big victory over Warren to propel the Bison into the ninth-place game, where they fell to Brother Rice.

Senior Tommy Gross of BG opened the match against the Crusaders with an ace, but Brother Rice quickly took control in both sets of a 25-16, 25-15 win.

"I feel like we played pretty tough today," said Gross. "Some inconsistencies, but overall we did play well. Against Warren, we came back in the second set and then kept it going in the third game to score the victory. Some really good teams out here, but we kept the intensity up the whole way."

Marty Gross hit 29 kills for the Bison, Ethan Soifer hit 28, Kyle Orton produced 30 assists, while Tommy Gross had 28 assists.

"Honestly this tournament has been great," said BG coach Tim Kosiek. "We've had a really good week. We had Palatine to start the week then Lake Zurich on Wednesday. Our goal here was just to improve every game. We came in with a 13 seed and we wound up playing for the ninth spot, so for us that was awesome. We've got a lot of younger players and a lot of room to grow."

At Hoffman Estates: Palatine defeated Mundelein, St. Viator, Oak Park-River Forest and West Chicago to win the Hoffman Estates Invite. The Pirates' leaders on the day were Curtis McLennan (50 kills, 5 aces, 5 blocks), Aaron Spaletto (22 kills), Timothy Matijevic (19 kills, 4 aces, 19 digs), Nate Jones (12 kills), Ben Rinella (91 assists, 20 digs) and Thomas Lambke (25 digs).

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