The 2011 Glenbard West team that reached the state semifinals never won a regular-season tournament. Last year’s team that reached the regional finals never won a regular-season tournament. The Hilltoppers,who have been playing varsity volleyball since 2005, had never won a regular-season tournament.
Six-foot-4 junior Jackson Nagle had 10 kills and two blocks, 6-4 middle Peter Scruggs added eight kills and four blocks and Alec Garwood had 19 assists as Glenbard West defeated Glenbard East 22-25, 25-17, 25-18 to win the Springfest Tournament on Saturday in Lombard.
“We really wanted to win,” Nagle said. “I really wanted to win it for the team and for coach [Christine Giunta-Mayer]. We got close before, but we actually never won one.”
Glenbard East was on the verge of extending Glenbard West’s record of futility after breaking a 15-15 tie in Game 1 and pulling away behind six kills from Sterling Glover and four from Nick Symonds.
But unlike years past, Glenbard West (8-0) wouldn’t let this opportunity slip away.
“After we lost Game 1, [Alec] Garwood said that’s why they have three games,” Nagle said. “I think that put it really well. You may lose a game, but if you push hard enough, you can definitely come back and win the next two. We really pushed forward and didn’t look back.”
Glenbard West opened an 18-11 lead in Game 2 and an 18-13 advantage in Game 3. Glenbard East (9-4) closed to within 19-18 in the final game, but kills by sophomore Geo Smith and Kyle Blane sparked a 6-0 run to end the match.
“We knew Glenbard East would give us a game,” Giunta-Mayer said. “This is their home court. This is their home tournament. We knew we would have to fight. We’ve been here [at Springfest] so many times. I’m just so proud of the boys.”
Glenbard West also got 13 assists from Paulie Bischoff, five kills and three blocks from Smith and three kills and two blocks from Blane.
Glover led Glenbard East with 11 kills, Jamie Wareham added six kills, Cory Soehren and Andrew Hurlburt each had 11 assists and junior libero Ben Symonds added 30 digs.
“They’re definitely a solid team,” Glover said. “They were the best team that we’ve played all season. I think that we were able to play to our best ability throughout the whole match. I don’t think we were tired. I don’t think it was any mistakes that we made. They just executed better than we did at the end.”
Downers South (11-4), which lost to Glenbard East 25-21, 25-21 in the semifinals, defeated Neuqua Valley 19-25, 25-17, 25-20 for third place.
“We were playing from behind the whole match [against Glenbard East],” Downers South coach Kurt Steuer said. “We’d make a run and get close, then we’d lose the momentum. “