Boys volleyball: Glenbard East shows it can keep a secret, throw a party
Glenbard East threw a surprise party for boys volleyball coach Marci Maier on Wednesday night.
"They held the secret," Maier said of the pre-match celebration of Maier's 500th boys volleyball victory a couple of weeks in the planning. "I had no idea. It was awesome to see all the former players, friends, family members. It was just overwhelming tonight. I'm going to tear up again thinking about it. It was just absolutely fantastic to see everybody out here celebrating in the success we've had here as a program. Like they always say, it takes a village, from the parents to my coaching staff to the kids. Just fantastic people to work with over the past 20 years."
The Rams capped the celebration with a 25-17, 25-22 nonconference victory over visiting Downers Grove South. Glenbard East beat Downers Grove South earlier this season at the Rams' Springfest tournament in three sets.
Maier's 500th came last month against Plainfield Central at a tournament. Like Wednesday's celebration, the players knew it was coming, Maier did not.
"We played a little tight and there was a little additional pressure for them to get that 500th," Maier said. "We experienced that once and so I came in and said, We've already gone through this once. This is playoff atmosphere. The fans are in the stands. So this is a great opportunity for us to handle that additional pressure. ... And I think they did a great job of handling that and coming out and playing really well tonight."
Just don't ask Maier her overall record as the only coach in program history or as the longtime girls volleyball coach.
"I've never paid attention to the wins or losses, they just built up," she said. "We try to win every ball, every point, every match and the wins and losses come naturally."
The victory gave the Rams a 12-5 mark on the season. They're doing it largely without their best player, 6-foot-5 senior outside hitter Carson Brandt. He is expected back in a couple of weeks.
"He was hitting a ton before he sprained his ankle. We're doing a great job of picking up the slack without him out there and he's going to add to this already wonderful team," Maier said.
The ceremony provided the Rams with an emotional boost that the Mustangs (10-9) couldn't overcome.
"They pass the ball really well," said Mustangs coach Kurt Steuer, who also paid tribute to Maier and her contributions to the game, "so when you're in system it makes it tough to get the balls and put blocks on it. We missed a couple of serves in that first set -- I believe five exactly -- so it doesn't help when we don't make them do anything with the ball. But all the credit to them. They passed well, played well, played fast."