Boys Volleyball: Barrington downs Minooka, takes third in Class 3AJeff Hochstein, of Barrington, goes up for the spike against Minooka at the Boys Volleyball State Third Place Match, Saturday, June 2nd, 2012 in Hoffman Estates, IL. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 2, 2012 9:19PM
Barrington’s Jeff Hochstein had a miserable morning. Six hours later, he made sure Minooka had a miserable day.
Hochstein had nine digs, an ace and 13 kills, including the match-winner, to lead Barrington (34-7) to a 25-18, 20-25, 25-18 victory over Minooka in the third-place game of the IHSA boys state volleyball tournament Saturday at Hoffman Estates.
Hochstein struggled offensively in both of Barrington’s first two matches at Hoffman Estates, putting away just 11 of 42 attempts Friday against Lake Park and six of 19 in the semifinals against Wheaton Warrenville South. But the 6-foot-5 senior came to life Saturday afternoon.
“Even last night, I wasn’t happy with how I played,” Hochstein said. “Overnight, I was thinking how I needed to come back strong and what I would remember about this state experience. This morning, I still wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be.
“But I had a pretty good kill early in the match and I turned to Austin (Barrington libero Czarnecki) and said, ‘I’m back,’” he added. “I’m real happy. I sort of came back after struggling a lot the last two games.”
Barrington coach Rob Ridenour said that despite Hochstein’s struggles in his first two matches at state, the Broncos probably would not have been there if not for him.
“The reality is that Jeff has been maybe our most important player to get us to state,” Ridenour said. “He had such a good sectional tournament for us. There were times he carried us. It was good to see him bounced back in this match.
“But when you look at it, even when he struggled offensively the first couple of matches, he had double digit digs and he passed pretty good,” the coach added. “Teams went after him this weekend. That was obviously their game plan. I thought he passed real well and handled the ball real well.”
Barrington’s passing also allowed setter Taylor Ganzer to find 6-foot-8 USC-bound middle hitter Tommy Leonard, who shared team honors with Hochstein with 13 kills.
“Tommy was Tommy,” Ridenour said. “He hit .684. That’s what he is.”
Leonard said that the third-place match was important for Barrington, particularly after the disappointment of their loss to WW South in the semifinals.
“After we lost to WW South, we all knew we were mad about that,” Leonard said. “We all came together and said that two teams walk away from this tournament winning their last game. That was so huge for us, because the last thing we’re going to remember is a win.”
Barrington didn’t waste any time getting in front of Minooka, racing to a 14-5 lead in Game 1.
“The guys were in a great frame of mind coming into this match,” Ridenour said. “They were pretty upset the first couple of hours after that WW South match. We talked about that at 3 p.m. we weren’t allowed to be upset anymore. As soon as 3 p.m. hit, these guys got in a good frame of mind.
“They played quite a match,” he added.
Minooka (37-4) rebounded from dropping the first set, snapping a 17-17 tie in Game 2 with a 6-1 run fueled by a Phil Hannon tip kill and block. But a 17-6 run by the Broncos after Leonard’s kill tied the third set at 3-3 was more than the Indians could overcome.
Charlie Spry added six kills for Barrington, which also got 31 assists from Ganzer and six digs from Czarnecki. Maalik Walker led Minooka with 10 kills, Rick Bishop had eight kills and Hannon added 29 assists and five blocks.
“We were very relaxed at the start of the match, at least in my perspective,” Minooka coach Janel Grzetich said. “Almost too relaxed. Finally, we were like, ‘We’re playing for something important here. Let’s get into this.’
“The difference between Game 1 and Game 2 was huge,” she added. “Just in the level of play and what the guys did.”