Boys volleyball: Glenbard West earns second place at state
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."
Falling to Marist a second time this season, Glenbard West (38-4) led the first set 7-3 as Will Schwegel held serve.
"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.
"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."