Boys volleyball: Glenbrook South beats Glenbrook North to earn first state trip in a decade
The journey led to a long-held goal, now accomplished.
"Super-exciting," Glenbrook South senior Chance Shampine said Tuesday after his match point block against Glenbrook North sent the Titans into the boys state volleyball quarterfinals for the first time in a decade.
No. 1 seed Glenbrook South beat No. 2 Glenbrook North in two games, 25-17, 25-22, at the Glenbrook North sectional championship.
"We kind of hoped we'd do it at the beginning of the season but to actually be there now is really something else," Shampine said.
"I think for us it was everybody being fully committed to the team. And I think if we don't have that then we wouldn't have made it."
Topping the 2021 state champions for the third time this season, Glenbrook South advanced to the Illinois High School Association state final tournament for the first time since 2013, when it placed fourth.
"This group totally deserves it. It's going to be a really fun run for us. Super-proud of them and we're excited for the next step," said Titans coach Annie Kotsadam.
Glenbrook South (37-1) will face four-time and defending state champion Glenbard West in the first quarterfinal at Hoffman Estates High School at 10:30 a.m. Friday. Semifinals and the third-place and championship matches are held Saturday beginning at 10 a.m.
Glenbard West finished the regular season No. 1 in the 1st Alliance VBC/Illprepvb.com Boys High School rankings compiled by Phil Brozynski. Glenbrook South, whose sole state title came in 2003, was No. 4 and Glenbrook North (23-9) was No. 8.
"Unfortunately, I think the top two teams in the state are going to meet in the quarterfinals," said Glenbrook North coach Chris Cooper, whose allegiance now lies with the 10-0 Central Suburban League champs.
"Yes, we'd rather be going, but I hope at some point (the Spartans) will start cheering those guys on, because it'd be great to have another team go down and win state from our district and our conference. I'm always going to become a CSL fan once we're out of it. And I think these guys have a real shot," Cooper said.
Glenbrook South's defense and passing accuracy earned unanimous acclaim Tuesday. While junior setter James Ganzorig registered 30 assists and 5 digs, defensive specialist Chris Lee notched 8 digs, and Alex Rupprecht and Kris Blumberg scooped out 7 apiece.
Shampine, a first-team all-state selection by the Illinois Volleyball Coaches Association at opposite/right-side hitter, had 4 digs to go with a match-high 11 kills.
"Every time they served I got a decent pass," Ganzorig said. "It was like in the perfect spot where I wanted, and that's where the offense came from."
"Our team has been offensive all year and today I thought our defense shone a little bit brighter," Kotsadam said. "I think our block touches and our blocking was a highlight for sure."
After Glenbrook North took a 4-3 lead in Game 1 on one of Spartan senior outside hitter Connor Durst's 9 kills, Blumberg matched it and Glenbrook South didn't trail again.
Blumberg, who also smashed 9 kills, ended Game 1 when his spike got blocked out of bounds for the 25-17 winner.
"I think going in we were like, we can hang with them after our last game went to three (sets)," said Glenbrook North senior right-side hitter Colin Schaefer, headed to play at Augustana.
"I think we were feeling really good, we really weren't forgetting about the past, we tried to use that as fuel. And I think they just came out a little stronger than we did."
The Spartans never let Game 2 get away from them, the widest margin a 20-16 Glenbrook South lead on senior outside hitter Rupprecht's point from the left side.
But after the Titans' Jaki Erdene tied the score at 6-6 -- Erdene and fellow junior middle hitter Zach White combined for 10 kills and 4 blocks -- Glenbrook South never trailed.
"I think what Coach Cooper said in our huddle -- they just played flawless," Schaefer said.
The powerful Durst scored 4 points in 5 serves to tie 21-21, but Glenbrook South points by White, Shampine, Blumberg and, finally, Shampine again, gave the Titans the 25-22 decision and their seventh sectional title.
"I'm really glad I got to have revenge on GBN after losing to them in the finals my sophomore year. It all came full circle," Rupprecht said.
He credited Glenbrook North for a great match -- "But I'm really excited for this group of guys to go out to state together and do some work," Rupprecht said.
The work ended for Spartans seniors such as Paul Cho, master of the reverse set. He missed 12 games with a foot injury, returning for Glenbrook North's final three playoff matches.
"I'm really going to miss the culture here and just the guys here as well," he said. "We're all super-close. It's sad it has to go this way, but it was a great season."