By Randy Whalen
Special to Illprepvb.com
As a top returner from the defending state champion Glenbard West boys’ volleyball team, Parker Moorhead knows what it takes to win.
“I want it all,” Moorhead said. “I love winning.”
Moorhead made sure the Hilltoppers did more winning on Saturday. He earned tournament MVP honors after putting down a match-high 13 kills and adding 7 digs as Glenbard West handed Marist its first loss of the season, 25-22, 25-21, in the championship of the Brother Rice Smack Attack at St. Xavier University.
It was the second straight season that Glenbard West (17-1) handed the RedHawks (20-1) their first loss of the season. The Hilltoppers have won 17 straight since an opening-day loss to Lincoln-Way East.
This was the fourth straight time that the two teams met in the title match. Marist won in 2018 and 2019, and there was no tournament in 2020 and 2021.
“This is why we work so hard to get to these title matches,” said Glenbard West coach Christine Giunta-Mayer. “This is the fun reward of why we put in so much time to get to this point. There are so many things we did today that we didn’t do six weeks ago.”
The Hilltoppers showed their resolve in the opener.
Marist’s outside hitter Marty Canavan (5 kills, 2 blocks) capped a 6-0 spurt with a kill to give the RedHawks a seemingly comfortable 22-17 lead. But back came Glenbard West with a set-ending 8-0 run.
Junior middle hitters Casey Mass (4 blocks, 4 digs) and Xzavion Willett (3 kills, 3 blocks) each had a block and a kill in the burst, and Marist made a trio of errors, including a return into the net on set point.
“That was a big win,” Moorhead said. “I trusted that even when we were down that we would still be able to win it. In a match like this, every point is big, and we just know how fun it is out there.”
Moorhead had four kills in an 11-4 spurt that had turned a 12-6 deficit into a 17-16 lead.
The second set was tied eight times through 8-8. Middle hitter Liam O’Neil (7 kills, 3 blocks) had a kill to start a 6-1 run that gave the Hilltoppers the lead for good at 13-9. Marist trailed 22-14 when Canavan had a kill and a pair of blocks to cap a 5-0 run that pulled the RedHawks within 22-19.
But that was as close as it would get as the teams traded points the rest of the way with Moorhead getting the final three kills for the Hilltoppers.
Junior opposite Adam Graham, who had 5 kills and 6 digs in the match, also made the all-tournament team for Glenbard West, which won its fourth-ever Smack Attack title, also winning in 2016, 2017 and 2022.
“We really focused on our mentality and not getting down on ourselves,” Graham said. “In a big match like this, every dig, every kill, every pass means more. We didn’t take anything for granted. You can’t take anything for granted in these matches.”
Libero Brendan Schoeberl (11 digs, 2 aces) and sophomore setter Christian Teresi (16 assists, 4 kills, 2 aces) were named to the all-tournament team for Marist.
“There were some interesting and crazy point runs,” said Marist coach Jordan Vidovic. “The end of the first set killed us. We will take some things away from this. We still have a long way to go.”
Brother Rice defeated York, 25-17, 25-23, for third place.
BY THE NUMBERS: Parker Moorhead led Glenbard West with 13 kills and 7 digs. Liam O’Neil had 7 kills, 3 blocks and a dig, Adam Graham got 5 kills and 6 digs, Casey Mass put up 4 blocks and added 4 digs, Xzavion Willett contributed 3 kills and 3 blocks, Jack Anderson added 30 assists and 2 kills, and Andrew Ellis had 9 digs. Marist was led by Marty Canavan with 7 kills and 3 blocks. Christian Teresi totaled 16 assists, 4 kills and 2 aces. Alex Smith had 4 kills and 2 blocks, Nathen Toth had 3 kills, Brendan Schoeberl contributed 11 digs and 2 aces, and Luke Brannigan dug 7 balls for the RedHawks.
THEY SAID IT: “I told the team, ‘We don’t leave with any regrets. We were aware the whole time and we did everything we could. Marist is very well-coached, is technically solid, and has a solid program. This is always a fight and that’s how we want it.” – Glenbard West coach Christine Giunta-Mayer.
THEY SAID IT: “That’s why we love playing this competition. We have played Glenbard West in the title match here four straight times. The players change, but the great competition doesn’t. That’s never going to go away.” – Marist coach Jordan Vidovic.
THEY SAID IT: “This was our first time in this tournament, and we loved it. We came in at 10-1 and are now 12-4 after the tournament, but there was so much competitive play out here. We’ve had great contributions from Charlie Broderick, David Broderick, Brendan Dons, Emmett Polsky and junior Spencer Lee. We’re happy to be here and look forward to getting better.” – Jones College Prep coach Howard Hu, whose team placed 15th.
THEY SAID IT: “(6-3 outside hitter) Nathan Kramer had a great tournament for us. He must have had 50 kills today alone.” – Brother Rice coach Dan Dwyer on the all-tournament team selection.
ON THE RECORD: Glenbard West (17-1 overall, 3-0 in the West Suburban Silver), Marist (20-1 overall, 3-0 in the East Suburban Catholic Conference), Brother Rice (12-3 overall, 2-0 in the Chicago Catholic League), York (16-4 overall, 0-2 in the West Suburban Silver).
At Downers Grove South
Glenbrook South’s 6-3 outside hitter Chance Shampine cannot remember ever having two dozen kills in a match.
But the Titans needed every one of them Saturday.
Shampine had 24 kills and an ace, and 6-1 junior setter James Ganzorig had 34 assists, 1 kill, 2 blocks and an ace as Glenbrook South defeated surprise finalist Oak Park-River Forest, 25-21, 20-25, 25-23, to win the Richard Griesheim Invitational Saturday at Downers Grove South.
Shampine, who now shares third place on the school’s all-time record list for kills in a match with his older brother, Jack, had 10 kills in each of the first and third sets after being held to just four in the second after the Titans squandered a 17-15 lead on the strength of 11 hitting and service errors.
“I just like being able to contribute to the team,” Shampine said. “A lot (of the team’s success) is because the guys are fully committed, and our bench is really active and that gives the guys on the court a lot of energy. Energy is our biggest thing.
“We needed energy to win that third game,” Shampine added. “We lost it in the second set, but we were able to get it back.”
Glenbrook South coach Annie Kotsadam said her team is lucky to have Shampine on its side of the net.
“He does his job, and he does it well,” she said. “He sees the court really well. He’s an all-around player, so he’s a force in the back row and in the front row. We’ve been talking about taking the right shots at the right times, and he’s buying into it. He’s buying into what we’re doing.
“He’s really been working on his blocking, too, and it changes the complexion of the match when he gets us those.”
Glenbrook South regained the initiative in the third set and sprinted to a 7-0 lead with Oak Park-River Forest setter Quinn Bozarth in the trainer’s room dealing with a bloody nose. The Huskies still trailed 17-9 before they went on a 12-4 to pull even at 21-21 on back-to-back blocks by Ryan Montroy.
“It’s one of those unfortunate things that happened (Bozarth exiting to start the third set), but we battled right back,” said Oak Park-River Forest coach Justin Cousins. “That’s something we’ve been working on, especially against good teams who execute at a high-level.
“The boys put on their best face today,” he added. “They never gave up. That’s all I can ask.”
A kill by Shampine and a block by 6-2 junior middle hitter Jaki Erdene gave the Titans a 24-22 lead before a hitting error by Glenbrook South on match point gave Oak Park-River Forest new life. But Shampine closed out the set and the match with his 24th and final kill to set off a team photo op at center court.
Erdene had 5 kills, 2 blocks and an assist for Glenbrook South (17-1 overall, 4-0 in the Central Suburban South), which also got 4 kills and an assist from Zach White and 4 kills from Kris Blumberg.
Montroy (1 blocks, 1 ace) and Peter Zurawski (2 blocks) each had 11 kills for Oak Park-River Forest (11-3 overall, 2-2 in the West Suburban Silver), which also got 30 assists and 2 blocks from Bozarth.
“There are 10 of the best teams in the state here, and we really played a great game to get second place,” Zurawski said. “We came in seeded seventh, and I don’t think people figured us to be here in the championship. But we’re here now.
“We have people doubting us, but our team is picking up and were going to be really good at the end of the season,” he added.
Oak Park-River Forest advanced to the championship match by defeating Downers Grove South, 25-20, 25-12, in one semifinal, while Glenbrook South defeated a short-handed Barrington team which was playing without four starters, 22-25, 25-20, 25-22, in the other semifinal.
Barrington (17-4 overall, 4-1 in the Mid-Suburban West), the tournament top seed, was without junior setter Adrian Wu and 6-5 sophomore middle Matt Louis, who were participating in academic events, 5-11 sophomore outside hitter John Sun (flu) and 6-1 sophomore outside Eli Rodda (wrist).
Nevertheless, Barrington coach Charlie Spry said the loss to Glenbrook South had nothing to do with the absence of the four starters.
“We didn’t execute,” he said. “I don’t think it was necessarily a personnel issue. It had to do with the fact that we didn’t execute on our side. (Glenbrook South) played a very good game, but we left five or six points that we should had by being more disciplined.
“But it comes with the territory of having different guys on the court,” Spry added.
Barrington finished third by defeating Downers Grove South (17-6 overall, 3-0 in the West Suburban Gold), 25-18, 24-26, 25-17. It was semi-sweet revenge for Barrington setter Carsten Wegh, who was on the losing end in 2022 when Downers Grove South defeated Barrington in the championship match.
“That was a very emotional, very frustrating loss (last year),” he said. “Everyone worked really hard today, especially Cole (Hartke). He put the team on his back. I’m looking forward to having the (four missing) guys back so that we can compete a little bit harder.”
No. 2 seed Hinsdale Central (13-2 overall, 2-0 in the West Suburban Silver), which lost to Oak Park-River Forest, 25-15, 23-25, 26-24, in the quarterfinals, defeated fourth-seeded Lincoln-Way West (17-5 overall, 1-0 in the Southwest Suburban Conference), 25-20, 18-25, 25-22, for fifth place.
“I have a great group to work with,” said Lincoln-Way West coach Jodi Frigo. “We know we’re undersized. We just have to play smart. My guys know what our strengths are and what our weaknesses, but sometimes we try to overplay when we don’t need to. Keep it simple.”
No. 3 seed Lyons Township (17-3 overall, 2-1 in the West Suburban Silver), which was upset by Maine South (9-8 overall, 1-3 in the Central Suburban South) in pool play Friday, defeated New Trier (11-7 overall, 2-3 in the Central Suburban South), 25-21, 25-21, to win the Silver bracket.
New Trier the No. 8 seed, was upset by Glenbard East on Friday. Glenbard East (12-8 overall, 2-1 in the Upstate Eight Conference) lost to Maine South in the seventh-place match Saturday.
– Phil Brozynski