Boys volleyball: Barrington rallies past Hersey in 3 to claim MSL title
Somehow, as if it's preordained, the Mid-Suburban League boys volleyball championship always produces a classic match.
This year's edition was no different.
Thursday night at Ken Carter Gymnasium in Arlington Heights, MSL West champ Barrington won a tense first set over host Hersey, winners of the MSL East.
The Broncos then fell victim to a big Huskies rally in set two.
Hersey had all the momentum heading into the deciding game, but instead of giving in, the Broncos gave it everything they had.
The effort paid off as Barrington shook off another Huskies comeback to win the title 28-26, 22-25, 25-19.
According to Broncos coach Charlie Spry, it was defense that led his team to the victory.
"I thought Marc (Gryzlo), our libero, played one of his best matches of the year," said the coach. "Very proud of him tonight."
Gryzlo made some spectacular saves for the Broncos, and the senior chalked it up to practice, practice and more practice.
"I've been working hard and cracking down on a lot of things," said Gryzlo. "I knew the things I needed to work on and I focused on that today."
Hersey coach Laura Gerber was proud of her team despite the loss.
"I thought the kids played very well," she said. "Barrington is a great team, this is who you want to play. It was a really fun match."
"We struggled with blocking a little bit. That right side (for the Broncos) was killing us, we just couldn't stop them. But we were very strong on serve-receive."
MSL West Co-Player of the year, 6-11 Barrington outside hitter Cole Hartke, didn't play due to injury.
That meant other Broncos had to step up, and Spry said that they did so with flying colors.
"Out of necessity we had some guys playing new positions," said the coach, "and I'm really proud of what they did. Our middles were strong, and so were our two sophomore outsides, John Sun and Eli Rodda."
Sun just stepped into his outside hitter role after playing opposite most of the year.
"We had a whole new mindset tonight," said the sophomore. "We focused on each point and it definitely paid off."
Barrington survived a roller-coaster ride in set one. They led most of the way, but Hersey fought back.
With the score 26-26, Broncos junior middle Gavin Rohlwing had a clutch kill, then senior Carsten Wegh put down the final ball to put the visitors up 1-0.
Hersey fell behind by 5 points in set two, but won late on two consecutive block kills from Alex Sulewski.
That set the stage for the third set, and Gryzlo gave the credit to Broncos senior Joseph Davey for getting his team pumped up and ready to turn the momentum around.
"He's our main hype guy," said Gryzlo of Davey, "no matter what the situation. We've been down sometimes by as many as 14 (points) and have come back, and he's the guy who always keeps us in the game."
Barrington stormed to a 16-9 lead in the deciding set, but led by junior Dylan Kim from the service line, Hersey reeled off 6 consecutive points to close within 16-15.
But Barrington righted the ship to pull away, and Sun served up an ace for the match-winning point.
"It felt amazing," said Sun, "like everything I've worked for all year paid off right there."
"We did a great job of executing our game plan," added Spry.
Prior to the game, Hersey junior outside hitter Gregory Kubon was announced as MSL East player of the year.
"He had a great season," said coach Gerber of Kubon. "Last year he was truly a setter and a serving specialist. He's made a huge improvement -- the kid can just put the ball away."