Lawson powers Glenbard West to finalSt. Rita's Tommy Stark tries to hit the ball past Glenbard West's Scottie Thomas. | Josh Peckler~ For Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 3, 2011 10:33PM
Glenbard West’s Ian Lawson is seeing the ball a lot more these days. He wants the ball a lot more these days. Friday, he knew what to do with it once he got it.
Lawson, a 6-foot-7 junior outside hitter, smashed 23 kills on 38 attempts to lead Glenbard West to a 25-21, 17-25, 25-20 victory over St. Rita in a quarterfinal match of the boys volleyball state tournament at Hoffman Estates.
Lawson’s 22nd kill of the match gave Glenbard West (33-7) a 17-15 lead in Game 3 after St. Rita overcame early deficits of 8-4 and 13-10 to tie at 13-all and 15-all.
“I felt like there were times when our passing was bad,” Lawson said. “A part of that could have been me. But even if the set wasn’t there, I was doing what I could to aggressively get the ball over the net. I was using their block to my advantage, tooling off it, hitting around it.”
After St. Rita won Game 2, Glenbard West made a lineup switch to move Lawson to the right side, where he prospered in Game 3.
“I am normally a right-side in club, but in high school I’m playing outside,” he said. “In Game 3, we switched up so I was always on the right side. I am a lot more comfortable there.”
No one was more angry than Lawson when his hitting error with his team leading 20-16 allowed St. Rita to go on a 4-0 run to tie the game at 20-20.
“I was mad at myself because I could have done something to stop that run,” he said.
But Lawson finally got his chance at 20-20. His 23rd and final kill sparked a 5-0 finishing run by the Hilltoppers that featured four errors by the Mustangs.
“When we’re relaxed, we definitely play better,” St. Rita’s Bobby Gallagher said. “We were relaxed in the second game, which is why we won so big. But it feels that once one or two things happen against us, people start to freak out. It just escalates.
“They ran off one or two points and we got timid because they’re that much closer to winning and we don’t want to make the mistake to let them win,” he added.
Gallagher led St. Rita (22-18) with 17 kills and Joe Biros added 10 kills and two aces.