Boys volleyball: Oak Park-River Forest ends Barrington's season
It was match point, and Jared Schainis stepped back for the serve.
He was excited on Friday afternoon about the possibility of closing out a two-set sweep of Barrington in the quarterfinals of the IHSA boys state volleyball finals at Hoffman Estates High School.
But before even tossing the ball, the 6-foot-6 Schainis, a middle hitter for Oak Park-River Forest who stood out not only for his height but also for the large white bandanna around his head and the even bigger, infectious smile often plastered on his face, looked at the faithful Oak Park-River Forest fans and motioned for them to stand up and get loud.
"That's what I do. I'm definitely (an emotional leader)," Schainis said. "Momentum is a huge thing in volleyball. I'm just making sure we have energy."
Schainis served a good ball, but Barrington hung tough and got the point on a Ricky Gibson kill to stay alive a moment longer.
However, the momentum Schainis generated before his serve was quick to return to the Huskies. On the very next play, the Huskies set up a perfect attempt at the net for Paul Romano and he pounded a kill straight to the floor to give Oak Park-River Forest the match-winning point.
The Huskies made quick work of Barrington, sweeping their way to a 25-17, 25-13 victory in just 47 minutes.
Oak Park-River Forest, which improved to 35-4, advanced to Saturday's 11 a.m. semifinal against Marist.
Barrington ended its season with a 29-11 record.
"I think we were a little surprised that they came out that fast and that hard," said Barrington setter Kyle Vasquez, who finished with 14 assists and helped set up Gabe Hartke for a team-high 6 kills. "But I feel like they wanted it a lot more at some points. We were a little down and on our heels a little bit."
OPRF got big kills out of Schainis (4 total kills), Lucas Schattauer (5 total kills), Quinton Kitzman (7 total kills) and Kyle Rasmussen (8 total kills) in building a quick 8-point lead in the first set, and then extended that to a 22-10 advantage late in the set.
Setter Sean Califf distributed the ball well for the Huskies, finishing with a match-high 23 assists.
In the second set, Barrington was plagued by 11 errors as Oak Park-River Forest went up 17-6 at one point.
"Obviously, we are disappointed," Barrington coach Rob Ridenour said. "It wasn't our best match today. Oak Park played a really solid match, especially jumping out on us early. That kind of set the tone for the match.
"But I'm really proud of our six seniors (Vasquez, Hartke, Matt Sarnowski, Chris Babicz, Ricky Gibson and Luke Kolder). As a group, in terms of working for each other and working for the program, they are about as special as a group as we've had."
Barrington's seniors led the team to the state finals last year, and were hoping for a better outcome this time. Last season, the Broncos were swept in the quarterfinals by Glenbard West.
Ironically, Oak Park-River Forest returned to the state finals after a similar experience in 2018.
The Huskies were swept in the quarterfinals last year by eventual state champion Lincoln-Way East.
"When our guys walked out of here last year, they said, 'We're not losing here next year,' " Huskies coach Don August said. "I think they all remembered that. I certainly reminded them of that. They came out here today and they just wanted to play hard.
"Our guys, from Day One this season, said they wanted to win state."