Boys Volleyball: Barrington captures second straight Lake County title
Updated: April 14, 2012 7:20PM
Jeff Hochstein knew what was coming, and he was ready for it.
Hochstein, Barrington’s 6-5 outside hitter, blocked a kill attempt by Vernon Hills’ Martin Niemczewski at match point to close out the Broncos’ 25-19, 25-18 victory in the championship of the Lake County Tournament Saturday in Vernon Hills.
Hochstein led No. 9 Barrington (13-3) to its second consecutive Lake County title with seven kills and two blocks. Middles Peter Van Fossan and Tommy Leonard (two blocks) each had six kills, Taylor Ganzer had 22 assists and Austin Czarnecki added 18 digs.
Niemczewski had nine kills for No. 8 Vernon Hills (13-1), but Hochstein denied the Cougars’ 6-5 rightside hitter kill No. 10.
“I visualized that block last night,” Hochstein said. “I know Martin (Niemczewski) from club and I knew I was going to be matched up against him. So I thought about blocking him all night. It couldn’t have come at a better time.”
Barrington coach Rob Ridenour was glad to see his tall outside hitter come up big Saturday.
“Jeff has made huge strides,” Ridenour said. “He plays middle in club, so outside is definitely a different position for him. There’s not a harder worker in our gym than Jeff. He’s always the one who’s pushing everyone else and working really hard. He’s starting to show he’s getting more comfortable out there.”
Hochstein’s fellow outside hitters, Charlie Spry and Charlie Kingwill, each had four kills for Barrington, which never trailed after the sixth point of either game.
“When we control the ball, we have a lot of luxuries with our offensive weapons,” Ridenour said. “We did a really nice job in that match. Our first contact was really good, both out of serve receive and transition, Austin (Czarnecki) was great — 18 digs in two games is a lot — and Kingwill is like a second libero.”
Thomas Robinson added eight kills and a block and sophomore setter Ryan Opitz had 18 assists and a block for Vernon Hills, which reached the finals by defeating Libertyville 25-18, 25-15.
“This is the match we wanted to get to,” Vernon Hills coach Chris Curry said. “We wanted to see these guys. They have so much of their team back from last year, we knew they’d be at a pretty good level right now.
“To me, this was a real win-win,” he added. “If we win the championship, great. If not, we get to see exactly what we’re not good enough at, and they exposed everything we’re not good enough at.”
Stevenson (12-2), which led 19-15 in Game 2 and 15-9 in Game 3 only to lose to Barrington 18-25, 25-22, 25-20 in the semifinals, bounced back to defeat Libertyville 25-16, 25-20 for third place.
“That match (against Barrington) should never have gone three,” Stevenson coach Tim Crow said. “We went up five points or so in the second game then had a bad rotation and we gave up six or seven points in a row. You do that against good team, it makes things tough.
“They’re an outstanding team, but we feel like we should have beaten them,” he added. “We played extremely well, except for three rotations. We had three bad rotations. I think that’s pretty much what did us in.”
Loyola (8-2) defeated Zion-Benton 20-25, 25-23, 25-19 for fifth place in the 16-team field.