Girls volleyball: Lyons tops Glenbard West to clinch Silver title
Lyons Township seniors Tia Kostic and Adriana Vassek learned what it took to win a West Suburban Silver girls volleyball title as sophomores.
As co-captains, they've guided the Lions back to that level -- and beyond.
"I feel it's super different because our team chemistry is much more strong this year and we really put in the work at practice and when we scrimmage," Kostic said. "Our team has such a good bond, which makes us play better together on the court, so I think that's amazing."
The Lions continued their amazing play Tuesday. They clinched the Silver title outright with a 25-9, 25-19 victory at Glenbard West to also improve to 22-2 overall. LT (5-0 in Silver) still must play defending Silver champion Downers Grove North Oct. 19 but all other Silver teams have at least two conference losses.
The Lions' last Silver title in 2019 was with a 5-1 record and before that in 2014 with a 6-0 mark.
"It's so exciting. Just coming together as a team it really feels great. I'm so happy. It's an honor," said LT back-row senior Alana Palter, who had four digs and four service points. "The team bonding's definitely greater. Especially our captains do a really good job of helping that out."
Kostic, Vassek and junior Kamryn Lee-Caracci each had five kills and junior Grace Brennan four. Sophomore Abby Markworth had 15 assists and six digs and Vassek and sophomore libero Kiely Mahoney each had five digs. Kostic and four-year varsity player Vassek are 1-2 for LT in kills this season. Kostic also leads in blocks and Vassek in serve receptions.
"I would say I have the same mutual feeling for winning conference both (times) because that's such a good honor," Kostic said. "Before every game we try to tell everyone we should represent LT the way we want to be seen and how we should play to our level. That just comes with mental toughness. That's one contributing factor that separates us from other years."
The Lions only lost twice in the abbreviated COVID-affected 2020-21 season in the spring. They've only been defeated this season by Montini, the second time in three sets.
"I think it's just really great to have those seniors that were sophomores win conference again. It's incredibly humbling, too, especially with how good of a conference," LT coach Jill Bober said. "It's also so deserving for all of our athletes. They've worked incredibly hard to set goals and achieve those goals."
After consecutive Silver losses, Glenbard West (18-9, 2-3) tried a new lineup in the first set but Kostic served 10 straight points to open a 15-3 LT advantage.
The Hilltoppers responded with an inspired second set. Sophomore Marin Johnson had four aces, five service points, two of three kills and three of six digs in the set to contribute to leads of 6-3 and 16-13. Other match standouts were sophomore Avery Herbert and junior Katherine Creswell (three kills each), juniors Demi Carpio and Liz Murray (five digs each) and junior Haydon Green (six assists).
"Marin Johnson had a really nice game. To beat an LT, you've got to have everybody play their best games," Glenbard West coach Pete Mastandrea said. "That's a pretty nice team. That'll be a deep playoff team. We didn't match them today, although in the second set we gave them heck. I was proud of the effort. We're going to get out of this funk at some point."
The Lions finally pulled ahead in the second set with back-to-back Vassek kills and Markworth serving three straight points for a 20-17 lead. The Lions pulled ahead 23-18 on junior Katie Debs' kill and solo block after she deflected the Hilltoppers' previous three attacks.