Back and forth they went — until they didn’t.
New Trier and Glenbrook North locked horns on the volleyball court for about two and a half sets Monday, April 17, but midway through the second, the Spartans decided to keep the momentum to themselves.
GBN came from a set behind to best the visiting Trevians 26-28, 25-20, 25-16 in the Central Suburban South powerhouse match in Northbrook.
“I think our energy dropped a bit as a team after the first set,” New Trier senior Tristan Macpherson said. “GBN came out with a lot of energy. They came out hungry, and we didn’t match it immediately. It took us too long.”
The loss is the third straight for the Trevians (7-5), who dropped matches to rival Evanston on April 12 and defending state champ Glenbard West on April 14.
Prior to the defeats, New Trier was coming off a strong showing in the 24-team Warren Blue Devil Classic, during which they bested Glenbrook South to claim third.
After advancing to the state championships a year ago, defeating top-seeded GBN in three sets to get there, this year’s Trevians are intermixing returners and new talent after the graduation of 11 seniors.
Macpherson (middle) and juniors David Wolff (6-foot-8 outside hitter) and Shane Sullivan (setter) are returning starters and co-captains and join outside hitter Kristaps Andersons, libero Griffin Firmin, opposite side Franklin Zoloto and middle Hudson Nachtwey in the starting lineup.
In Monday’s loss, the Trevs also started setter Sam Patterson and worked in middle Sean Hoeper and outside Oliver Potterfield, a freshman.
“We have some nice, key returning players but are stilling developing our team personality and our team chemistry,” New Trier coach Sue Ellen Haak said. “That’s taken a little bit of time. We’ve had some great moments and we’ve had some weak moments. Our potential is extremely high and that’s what is exciting about this team. We have to settle in.”
Against Glenbrook North (9-3), New Trier took advantage of GBN’s early errors (18 combined serving and hitting errors in first set. Wolf and Andersons tallied three kills apiece and Nachtwey provided the final kill for a thrilling 28-26 Trevs’ victory.
As the teams traded points in the second set, the Spartans cleaned up their mistakes and opened up their offense. The fluid attack kept the Trevians’ block guessing.
“We didn’t adjust well to what they were running,” Haak said. “They passed great and they were able to run every attacker pretty much every serve. That’s hard to stop.”
The Trevians were within two, 12-10, before GBN really kicked it into high gear, stretching their lead to as large as eight, 19-11, before finishing things off.
In the decisive third set, it was more of the same. The Spartans grabbed an early lead and only extended it as the set wore on, picking up a key league win.
Six Spartans finished with at least four kills. Connor Durst and Lance Lai (also a block-kill) each tallied a team-high eight kills.
The Trevians were led by Macpherson’s nine kills, while Wolff and Andersons added eight and seven, respectively.
New Trier gets right back to it Wednesday, April 19, with a home league match against Glenbrook South, and on Friday and Saturday, April 21-22, the Trevs compete in a tournament at Downers Grove South.
“It’s just coming to practice and realizing we have work to do,” Macpherson said, adding, “The key this year is going to be how good our team chemistry is. … We’re on the right trajectory, but not quite there yet.”