Boys volleyball: Glenbard West earns second place at state

  • Glenbard West players hold the state runner-up trophy at the conclusion of the boys state volleyball final against Marist at Hoffman Estates High School Saturday.

      Glenbard West players hold the state runner-up trophy at the conclusion of the boys state volleyball final against Marist at Hoffman Estates High School Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Coach Christine Giunta-Mayer hugs Henry Curtis following the Hilltoppers' second-place finish during the boys state volleyball final against Marist at Hoffman Estates High School Saturday.

      Coach Christine Giunta-Mayer hugs Henry Curtis following the Hilltoppers' second-place finish during the boys state volleyball final against Marist at Hoffman Estates High School Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Connor Williams hugs coach Christine Giunta-Mayer following the Hilltopper's second-place finish during the boys state volleyball final against Marist at Hoffman Estates High School Saturday.

      Connor Williams hugs coach Christine Giunta-Mayer following the Hilltopper's second-place finish during the boys state volleyball final against Marist at Hoffman Estates High School Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Glenbard West's Benny Harrington looks for a kill during the boys state volleyball final against Marist at Hoffman Estates High School Saturday.

      Glenbard West's Benny Harrington looks for a kill during the boys state volleyball final against Marist at Hoffman Estates High School Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Glenbard West's Connor Williams leaps for a kill during the boys state volleyball final against Marist at Hoffman Estates High School Saturday.

      Glenbard West's Connor Williams leaps for a kill during the boys state volleyball final against Marist at Hoffman Estates High School Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Glenbard West's Ryan Swartz leaps for a kill during the boys state volleyball final against Marist at Hoffman Estates High School Saturday.

      Glenbard West's Ryan Swartz leaps for a kill during the boys state volleyball final against Marist at Hoffman Estates High School Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Glenbard West coach Christine Giunta-Mayer talks to her team during the boys state volleyball final against Marist at Hoffman Estates High School Saturday.

      Glenbard West coach Christine Giunta-Mayer talks to her team during the boys state volleyball final against Marist at Hoffman Estates High School Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Glenbard West's Henry Curtis (14) talks to his teammates during a pause in the action during the boys state volleyball final against Marist at Hoffman Estates High School Saturday.

      Glenbard West's Henry Curtis (14) talks to his teammates during a pause in the action during the boys state volleyball final against Marist at Hoffman Estates High School Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Glenbard West setter Henry Curtis passes to teammate Diego Guzman during the boys state volleyball final against Marist at Hoffman Estates High School Saturday.

      Glenbard West setter Henry Curtis passes to teammate Diego Guzman during the boys state volleyball final against Marist at Hoffman Estates High School Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Glenbard West's Benny Harrington reacts to a missed opportunity during the boys state volleyball final against Marist at Hoffman Estates High School Saturday.

      Glenbard West's Benny Harrington reacts to a missed opportunity during the boys state volleyball final against Marist at Hoffman Estates High School Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Glenbard West players including Ryan Swartz, front, and Connor Williams shake hands following their second-place finish during the boys state volleyball final against Marist at Hoffman Estates High School Saturday.

      Glenbard West players including Ryan Swartz, front, and Connor Williams shake hands following their second-place finish during the boys state volleyball final against Marist at Hoffman Estates High School Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 6/1/2019 10:29 PM

Glenbard West capped the boys volleyball season with a sixth straight top-three finish but met its match for the championship against Marist.

The last of Marty Jepsen's 14 kills, a deep, powerful blast, gave Marist its third state title, defeating Glenbard West in straight sets, 25-21, 25-23 on Saturday at Hoffman Estates.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"My team defensively, they played out of their minds. We picked up a million shots, they picked up a million shots. When you get to this point this is what you want," Glenbard West coach Christine Giunta-Mayer said.

"We worked this hard for this moment. You don't work for second place, but somebody's got to win, somebody's got to lose. That's just the nature of the beast."

Marist (40-2) recorded a higher attack percentage than Glenbard West and was clean on service, serve-receive and on the block. This lent the edge to what RedHawks coach Jordan Vidovic called "a grueling match."

"We wanted to put just as much pressure on them as they put on us," he said. "That's what a championship match should be. I mean, those are the two clear-cut, best teams in the state, no questions asked."

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Falling to Marist a second time this season, Glenbard West (38-4) led the first set 7-3 as Will Schwegel held serve.

Glenbard West's Henry Curtis, right, tries to block a ball hit by Marist's Marty Jepsen during the boys state volleyball final against Marist at Hoffman Estates High School Saturday.
  Glenbard West's Henry Curtis, right, tries to block a ball hit by Marist's Marty Jepsen during the boys state volleyball final against Marist at Hoffman Estates High School Saturday. - Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

"Our passing was really good," said Hilltoppers senior outside hitter and co-captain Ryan Swartz, who finished with 10 kills and 13 digs. "(Libero) Zack (Morris) did a great job, Henry (Curtis) was killing it at setter. I'm just really proud of all the guys, we played our hearts out. Everything was just flowing when we were doing good."

Marist rallied to lead 13-12. After going up 18-17 on Nyherowo Omene's block the RedHawks ended the first set on a 7-4 run.

"Marist doesn't make mistakes and we were making some mistakes," Giunta-Mayer said. "If we would have kept our ball in the court maybe we would have had a little bit more of a chance to force them to make a few errors. We were scoring, it wasn't like we had any problem scoring."

Marist led Game 2 throughout. Connor Williams' kill to bring Glenbard West within 20-16 started a push to within 1 point four times before the Lewis University-bound Jepsen finished it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It's so hard to play against a team like that because they pick up all your best shots and they just give it back to you and wait until you hit it out of bounds. It's just crazy," said Hilltoppers co-captain Curtis, who ended his last high school match with 32 assists.

Juniors Ben Harringon had 12 kills and 8 digs; Nicco Cavalcante added 8 kills.

Coach Christine Giunta-Mayer stands with Connor Williams, middle and Ryan Swartz after the Hilltoppers' second-place finish during the boys state volleyball final against Marist at Hoffman Estates High School Saturday.
  Coach Christine Giunta-Mayer stands with Connor Williams, middle and Ryan Swartz after the Hilltoppers' second-place finish during the boys state volleyball final against Marist at Hoffman Estates High School Saturday. - Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

"We really wanted to get this one for our seniors because we couldn't last year. Last year we had potential to do it, this year we had potential to do it, and that class definitely deserved a championship," the 6-foot-4 Harrington said.

"We're all upset that we couldn't get that one, but we're definitely going to work to get one next year. I know my class doesn't want to leave empty-handed."

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