Boys Volleyball: WW South caps historic season with state title

Story Image Thomas Jaeschke, of Wheaton Warrenville South, with the kill against Glenbrook North at the Boys Volleyball State Championship, Saturday, June 2nd, 2012 in Hoffman Estates, IL. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
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Updated: June 4, 2012 10:17AM



Wheaton Warrenville South’s Thomas Jaeschke said the Tigers would not allow themselves to think about a mythical national championship until they won the Illinois state title.

Saturday evening, they took care of one and now must wait to see if it was enough to earn the other.

WW South (42-0), ranked No. 1 in the nation by a panel of ESPN prep writers, got 12 kills from Jaeschke, nine kills from Tim Zyburt and 22 assists from Kit Bruzek to defeat Glenbrook North 25-21, 25-13 in the championship match of the IHSA boys state volleyball tournament at Hoffman Estates.

The state title was the seventh for WW South and first since the three-peat years of 2007-09. But perhaps more importantly, it puts the Tigers in position to claim Illinois’ first-ever boys national volleyball championship.

“That national ranking now means a whole hell of a lot,” WW South coach Bill Schreier said. “They would be the first team in Illinois that do that, and that is a great achievement.”

WW South also became just the fourth team to win a state title without losing a match, joining Richards (1992) and the Tigers’ own 2001 and 2004 state title teams. But early on, it looked like Glenbrook North was poised to spoil their bid for perfection.

The Spartans (38-4) led 13-11 in Game 1 on back-to-back kills by Brian O’Keefe and were still ahead at 16-15 on Pat Bedford’s putaway before the Tigers went on a 7-3 run to grab a 22-19 lead.

A Pat Bedford kill and a WW South error closed the gap to 22-21, but consecutive Spartan errors and a Matt Callaway block on set point ended Glenbrook North’s last serious bid at victory.

WW South opened Game 2 on an 8-2 run and never looked back, building leads of 17-7 and 20-9.

“We had to get that first game to get some momentum going,” Glenbrook North coach Chris Cooper said. “We were right there with them up until 22-21, but we couldn’t hang with them the last few points.

“They don’t make a lot of errors for you. They make you think like you have to play a perfect game and you try to do things that you normally don’t do. We ended up having to hit a lot of roll shots and tips because they were just getting over the net and blocking us.’’

Pat Bedford had seven kills to lead Glenbrook North, which also got six kills from O’Keefe and 19 assists and three digs from Kyle Bedford.

“We’re content with second place,” Pat Bedford said. “That’s where we were ranked much of the season. Of course it would be much better if we were standing in Wheaton’s shoes, but there’s nothing to be mad about or sad about. They’re a good team and they came out better than us.”

“Going into the season, we knew we’d have a pretty good team,” Jaeschke said. “The thing about our team is we’re an athletic group of guys, but they’re (Glenbrook North) a bunch of athletic guys. We just play so well together, and that’s what made us so good.

“We knew where we are going to be on the court at all times. Our team chemistry is off the charts, and it’s not just seven players. There’s 15 of us. The other guys pushed us in practice every day.”

Could WW South have played any better than it did Saturday night?

“I don’t know if you can ever really say it was our best,” Jaeschke said. “But to play like that in a state championship is so fun.”

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