CHICAGO – A team always has to play its best.
Especially in a battle of the top two boys volleyball teams in the state.
Unfortunately for Glenbard West, it didn’t do that and the top-ranked Hilltoppers fell for the second time in the last three matches, losing 25-21, 25-23 to host Marist on Thursday evening.
No. 2-ranked Marist (31-2) had lost to the Hilltoppers 25-20, 25-15 on April 23 in the title match of the Smack Attack at Brother Rice.
That was even without Glenbard West (30-3) senior outside hitter, Danny Dorsey in the lineup because of illness. Dorsey was out again for the past week after hurting his ankle in a 25-22, 25-22 win over host Hinsdale Central on Tuesday, May 3. He returned to the lineup against the RedHawks and led the team with seven kills. But it wasn’t enough to overcome the mistakes.
“They outplayed us, they beat us,” Glenbard West coach Christine Giunta-Meyer said of the RedHawks. But we didn’t play well. We missed a lot of serves in the first set and made too many errors.”
Both teams had four service errors in the opening set but Glenbard West also had two net violations and four hitting errors. The Hilltoppers never led in the first set, which was tied three times early on, the last at 4-4. Then five different RedHawks had kills in a 7-1 spurt which gave them the lead for good.
Glenbard West closed within 15-14 but couldn’t draw even. A 5-1 burst gave Marist a 20-15 lead. Dorsey deposited a kill to close the Hilltoppers within 24-21 but they served into the net to end the opener.
“We’ve been good going point-for-point and then getting those extra points to put us over,” Dorsey said. “But it didn’t work out that way tonight. We need to limit our errors. I made a lot of them. We need to get back to practice and not let this loss bring us down.”
Dorsey didn’t know if he’d play until warmups. He felt good enough to go but it was still tender.
“I’m still not 100% but I’m working back,” he said. “Hopefully we will see (the RedHawks) one more time at state.”
The two teams played in the 2019 state title match and Marist won that by the exact same score of 25-21, 25-23. Between the first and second set, both Giunta-Meyer and Marist coach Jordan Vidovic were announced in recognition of making the Illinois High School Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame last year.
The Hilltoppers played better in the second set and looked to pull away after senior setter Trevor Powell (18 assists, two kills) senior opposite hitter Gavin Swartz (four kills, two blocks), and Dorsey all had kills in a 3-0 run for a 19-17 lead. But once again it was Marist with the key spurt, this one a 5-1 one to take the lead for good at 22-20. The team alternated points the rest of the way, with junior outside hitter Marty Canavan (10 kills, 6 digs) putting down the match-winning kill.
Juniors Parker Moorehead at outside hitter and Liam O’Neill at middle hitter, both had a trio of kills for the Hilltoppers.
Senior outside hitter Kellen O’Keefe added eight kills and six digs for Marist. Junior middle blocker Mike Uldrych had five kills and two blocks, freshman setter Christian Teresi passed out 32 assists, and junior libero Brendan Schoeberl added 12 digs for the RedHawks.
“We just have to be better,” Giunta-Meyer said. “We had a great run but this one hurt.”