Boys Volleyball: Tommy Leonard, Barrington end Zion-Benton’s run

Story Image Zion's Matthew Isaacs (right) goes up to spike one as Barrington's Charlie Spry goes up to defend during their sectional championship volleyball game at Barrington.
Story Image

Updated: May 29, 2012 10:13PM

When you’re 6-8, you’re used to standing out in a crowd.

So, it came as a surprise to no one on Tuesday that Barrington’s tower of power in the middle, Tommy Leonard stood tallest in the Broncos’ 25-17, 25-20 victory over visiting Zion-Benton that gave the home team a sectional boys volleyball championship and a match against Lake Park on Friday in the quarterfinals of the state tournament in Hoffman Estates.

Standing out is what Leonard has done his entire prep career, and what he’s likely to do in future years playing for the Trojans of the University of Southern California.

Against Zion-Benton (29-9 and a surprise sectional finalist), Leonard had nine kills and three blocks, and he took complete control of the action in the second game.

“We’re so excited … 2005 (second-place finish) was the last time we went downstate,” said Leonard. “Every year, it’s been ‘This is our year, let’s do this,’ and it hasn’t happened. This year, we did it.

“But it’s not over. We’re so pumped up now.”

Tuesday’s match was never in danger of being lost, as the Broncos (33-6) raced out to early leads in both games and then traded points to the finish line.

“For once, he (Leonard) didn’t dominate a game,” noted Barrington coach Rob Ridenour, referring to Game 1 of the match. “Then, he came back and dominated in the second. Peter (Van Fossen) really helped out in Game 1. We got great contributions from guys like John Bach and Ryan Sarkar.

“It was a complete team effort tonight.”

Leonard agreed, preferring to turn the spotlight toward his teammates.

“A lot of us on the team have matured and grown together,” Leonard said. “We have nine seniors this year, which is huge. Just as important, our bench is ridiculously deep. John Bach came in and served really well. The most points we scored tonight were when John Bach served and Ryan Sarkar and Charlie Kingwell came up huge. Everybody did something this match. It’s not just a couple guys carrying the team.”

Leonard also was grateful to be playing at home, where the loud, raucous Bronco student-fan section made some serious noise.

“The fans were huge. It definitely helped us,” Leonard said. “There were so many tonight, more than you see at some other sports. That’s not something you usually see at a boys volleyball game. We definitely fed off of that.”

As for the numbers, besides Leonard, Barrington was led to victory by Jeff Hochstein (eight kills), Charlie Spry (six kills), Van Fossan (five kills, two blocks), Taylor Ganzor (26 assists), Bach (three aces) and Charlie Kingwill (three aces).

“We played great the first 15 points of each game,” Ridenour said. “ That took a lot of pressure off. I think being at home really helped us in that middle stretch. Those middle 10 points are always back and forth, but I thought we handled them really well today.”

Zion reached the sectional championship game for the first time in school history by upsetting Vernon Hills (regional final) and Stevenson (sectional semifinals). The Zee-Bees were led by Matt Isaacs (seven kills), Josh Hieb (six kills) and D.J. Reynolds (six kills).

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