Since winning the state title in 2003, Glenbrook South has pretty much fallen off the map.
That year, Sam Kim, Drew Adams and David Choi led the Titans to a 39-3 record and a 15-5, 15-12 victory over Hersey in the championship game. In the semifinals, Glenbrook South defeated Naperville North and Matt Hankey, Ryan Fabrizius and Jay Nelson in a classic15-11, 7-15, 16-14 thriller.
But the Titans have provided few thrills since.
“Glenbrook South has been off everyone’s radar for about seven years now,” said coach Tim Monahan. “We have not done anything since our title except show moments of brilliance. We are hoping to change that this year. This season we want to have those moments turn into long periods of consistency and maybe even brilliance.”
Glenbrook South returns the core of a team that finished 14-15 and upset New Trier in the regional led by 6-foot-10 outside hitter Lucas Rytel, who plays for Adversity and is headed to University of California-Santa Barbara in the fall.
“We are pretty excited to see what Luc will do for us this season,” Monahan said. “He has hit the middle for me in the last three seasons, but after working with his club team he is ready to make the transition to the outside.”
Running Glenbrook South’s 5-1 offense will be a player with a name familiar to fans of girls volleyball. Brian Brennan is the brother of Colleen Brennan, who helped lead Glenbrook South within a couple of points of upsetting Cary-Grove during its 2009 title run, and Maggie Brennan, who played at Glenbrook South from 2003-2006.
Brennan will set Rytel and another player from Adversity, 6-8 junior middle Piotr Rafalo.
“Piotr has also played up the last two years so he will be playing his third season at the varsity level,” Monahan said.
Rounding out the lineup are two juniors and a senior all of whom saw time on varsity last year, including 6-5 senior rightside Vince Gabuzzi, who took up volleyball after being cut from the baseball team.
“Turns out Vince was always supposed to play volleyball,” Monahan said. “He touches 11 feet and hits the ball with some authority.”
The juniors who will round out the lineup are 6-3 outside Charlie Tisch and 6-4 middle blocker Troy Farsakian.
“We are pretty much untested and have been out of the elite picture for quite a while, but I have a big athletic group that is hungry and ready to play,” Monahan said. “Hopefully, we will be able to surprise some teams and build towards that final tournament.”