Glenbard West coach Christine Giunta-Mayer chose not to submit any individual stats (kills, blocks, assists, etc.) to the Illinois High School Association before the start of the state finals at Hoffman Estates.
That meant spectators and reporters saw names of players but zero numbers next to the names on the online program.
“It’s about being a Topper,” Giunta-Mayer insisted Saturday evening. “I would have been happy to provide team totals.”
“Our coach,” Hilltoppers senior outside hitter Gavin Swartz added, “never sends those in. We’re not into individual stuff.
“We’re fine with focusing on us, on our team.”
Glenbard West was better than fine on the court Saturday, skipping to a breathless 25-16, 25-18 victory over Lincoln-Way East in the state championship match. The impressive effort upped the program’s state title total to four – all under the direction of Giunta-Mayer.
The 6-foot-4 Swartz struck for five of his team-high seven kills in the second set. Classmate Danny Dorsey, a 6-4 outside hitter/middle, practically turned volleyballs into pulpy orbs and finished with five kills and three blocks.
His ace clinched the state title and the program’s ninth top-four state showing.
Junior outside Parker Moorhead (six kills) set a resounding tone in each set, popping for a block on the very first point and hammering a kill to give Glenbard West (39-3) a 2-1 lead. Another Moorhead kill kicked off the scoring in set 2.
“We ran real fast,” said Giunta-Mayer, whose crew defeated Libertyville 25-21, 25-13 in the first state semifinal Saturday morning. “We were so locked in, so on our game plan from the start.”
Glenbard West senior setter Trevor Powell lofted 18 assists and senior defensive specialist Sam Alles paced the champs in digs with five. Sophomore middle Xavion Willett had a match-high five blocks.
“No one had a bad match,” Swartz said. “We were all playing well, firing on all cylinders. That was fun.
“We all had fun out there.”
Lincoln-Way East coach Kristopher Fiore was named the Illinois Volleyball Coaches Association Coach of the Year before the third-place match between Libertyville and Downers Grove South.
“I would have preferred to win the state championship,” said Fiore, the coach of state-championship Griffins teams in 2014 and 2018. “Credit Glenbard West. To have any chance against a quality team like that you have to play clean volleyball. We didn’t do that. Combine that with a setter like they have, a setter who can set to a number of very good hitters, and you’re looking at an even bigger challenge.”
Griffins senior outside Jared Byas pounded a match-high 11 kills to go with four digs. Six-foot-3 senior Jon Guch finished with nine kills, and 6-2 junior outside Tyler Walenga contributed five kills.
Byas and Walenga earned IVCA first-team all-state honors.
Senior setter Jerry Moylan put up 24 assists for Lincoln-Way East (35-7), while senior libero Sam Szafoni had a team-best eight digs.
Fiore’s club, which split its two regular-season matches with Glenbard West, fell behind 8-2 in the first set of the title tilt but found itself down only 12-9. A 6-0 Glenbard West run – in what seemed to take six seconds to produce – put the eventual champs in full-blown comfort mode.
A Dorsey kill broke a 10-10 tie in the second set. Glenbard West essentially coasted from there.
Dorsey and Swartz had seven kills apiece in the semifinal defeat of Libertyville (22-15). Moorhead led all attackers with eight. Powell excelled again, finishing with 22 assists and eight digs. Junior middle Liam O’Neill elevated for three blocks.
Lincoln-Way East downed Downers Grove South 25-17, 25-16 in the second semifinal Saturday behind nine kills apiece from Walenga and Byas. Senior middle Jordan Hick struck for six, one more than Guch’s kill total. Moylan amassed 27 assists.
“I’m incredibly proud of my players,” Fiore said, adding his players hadn’t played a home match since early April because the Griffins’ gym was undergoing a major redo. “We practiced at Lincoln-Way Central, at private facilities, everywhere. I think we ended up practicing on four courts.
“They never lost their focus through it all,” he added.