Boys volleyball: Hersey takes down Barrington for MSL crown
The third time was the charm for the Hersey boys volleyball team Wednesday night.
After losing to Barrington the last two seasons in the Mid-Suburban League championship game, the Huskies put forth a near flawless effort at Ken Carter Gymnasium in Arlington Heights to win this year's MSL crown.
Backed by a large, loud, boisterous home crowd Hersey defeated the Broncos 25-16, 25-21 to claim a long-awaited title.
"I'm so happy," said Huskies senior setter Jakub Migus, who was named Co-Player of the Year in the MSL East prior to the match. "It's my third time playing in this game and to finally come out on top against Barrington is huge. Everyone on our team stepped up -- they were all ready to go and did their jobs."
"Jakub set a great game, a smart game," said first-year Hersey coach Laura Gerber. "That gave us the opportunity and our hitters were fantastic."
Migus finished with 21 assists. Junior Tim Nugent led the Huskies on attack with 9 kills, while Luke Larson keyed a strong defensive effort with 12 digs.
Junior Ben Ridgway had 7 kills and 4 digs for Barrington.
"We've got to find a way to settle in earlier," said Broncos coach Rob Ridenour, "and get ourselves more ready to go at the beginning of a match."
Hersey jumped on Barrington early in set 1, and doubled the Broncos at 16-8 when Migus won a battle at the net to get the point.
Barrington couldn't make up any ground and when Hersey middle Alec Naumowicz took advantage of an errant Broncos volley and crushed a kill, the score was 20-13.
Migus set Nugent for the game point and just like that the Huskies were up one set to none.
"We were keeping them off balance with our service and our serve receive," said Nugent, "and taking them out of system."
Barrington took a 13-11 lead in the deciding set behind the attack of Ridgway and Ricky Gibson and was poised to make it 14-11 when the Hersey defense, led by Jacob Tolwinski, fought off four kill attempts with some spectacular digs and wound up winning the point.
Boosted by the defense, the Huskies ran off 8 of the next 9 points to take a 20-14 advantage.
"They (the Huskies) were good all night," said Ridenour, "but they were especially good defensively the last 15 points."
Barrington fought back late and closed to within 24-21 on a Gabe Hartke (co-MSL West Player of the Year) block kill, but the next Barrington serve sailed long to give the win to Hersey and set off a wild celebration by the home team and its fans.
"This is unreal," said Hersey senior Carter Zagorski. "This is unlike anything else. It's something special, and to do it on our home court -- we went unbeaten on our home court this year and I'm just thrilled to get this victory."
Tolwinski added 8 digs for Hersey, which improved to 28-7 on the season.
"This was the best," said Nugent. "All of our hard work during the season paid off."
"I couldn't be happier for these guys," added Gerber. "They're a great group and it's really nice that they got it done tonight."