Boys volleyball: Barrington blasts its way to 1st Tiger Classic crown

By Stan Goff
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 4/15/2023 9:06 PM

Plenty of coaches and players leave the Tiger Classic each spring feeling good, not just the one program that walks away with the championship plaque, which the Barrington Broncos managed to do for the first time ever this weekend.

Barrington (13-2) played near flawless volleyball in sweeping Lincoln-Way East 25-17, 25-19 in the Gold Bracket championship match at Wheaton Warrenville South, host of the 19th annual Tiger Classic. But there were many other highlights over three days of top-notch volleyball, including Fremd's 25-17, 27-25 defeat of Lake Park for the Silver Bracket crown, in the Vikings' first year at the tournament.


Other interesting outcomes saw Missouri power St. Louis U High win its pool play but then drop three matches Saturday to finish eighth overall, and the host Tigers knocked off Naperville Central 25-22, 25-14 to take fifth in Silver and 13th overall. That latter match was set up after the Tigers beat rival Wheaton North earlier in the day Saturday, while the Redhawks outlasted Neuqua Valley after winning the third game 25-23.

Barrington had three players named to the all-tourney team including 6-foot-11 outside hitter Cole Hartke, who had 7 kills, 2 blocks and 2 aces in the finals against the Griffins, one of the top teams in the state. Sophomore opposite John Sun and junior middle hitter Gavin Rohlwing were also named to the all-tourney teams for the Broncos.

"We've never made it to the championship," Barrington coach Charlie Spry said. "It feels good when they put it together for an extended period of time. We did not make that few mistakes on Thursday ... it's good to see the work that we're doing coming out."

Hartke, a Pepperdine commit, agreed with his coach that it was great to see the Broncos show off their capabilities in the finals.

"It was very exciting. It hasn't been like that all season, but it came together for that game," he said. "We played amazing, we made very few errors. We just did what needed to de done and we let them make all the mistakes. They're a great team, they do everything right, but we got them today."

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For Fremd, a 4-1 showing at the Tiger Classic was all the more impressive considering they were without outside hitter Camden Seaver for the first two days of play. The senior had missed a week of action with an illness but returned Saturday and had 5 kills against Lake Park to team with Nick Tangney, who recorded 15 kills and 10 digs in the match and landed all-tourney recognition.

For Wheaton Warrenville South, junior setter Joseph Kelly continues to grow into the position as a young Tigers team has improved and picked up confidence of late. The hosts opened Saturday's early play with a loss to Lake Park before bouncing back with a pair of wins in the Silver Bracket.

"This morning I don't think we were awake," said Kelly, who made the all-tourney squad. "The second game we woke up against [Wheaton] North, our rivals. I just think we really wanted it and I think as a team we're starting to come together, putting all the pieces together."

Lake Park was second in pool play after Friday's results with their lone loss coming to St. Louis U High. After falling to Fremd in the Silver finals, the Lancers are 9-5 on the year. Senior outside hitter Evan DeValk had 7 kills and 11 digs against the Vikings on his way to making all-tourney. Dylan Brinkley added 3 kills, 13 assists, and 4 digs for Lake Park.

"We didn't see a weak team at all which is fun for the weekend," Lancers coach Brian Fischer said. "We had a lot of inconsistencies. There was a lot of up and down and a lot of errors. But the beauty of it is it's mostly self-inflicted, things that we can work on and clean up."

St. Charles East finished 17th at the Tiger Classic and junior middle hitter Andrew Heilers picked up all-tourney honors. Metea Valley was 19th out of 24 teams.

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