Winnetka, Sports

New Trier can’t recover after dramatic first-set loss to top-seeded Glenbrook South

Hudson Nachtwey’s big block late in the first set had the New Trier boys volleyball team tantalizingly close to going up a set early on one of the state’s best teams. 

But close doesn’t count.

Glenbrook South rallied to steal the first set from the Trevians and then rolled the momentum into a match victory, downing New Trier 31-29, 25-17 in a sectional semifinal Saturday, May 27, at Glenbrook North High School.

To finish that first set, the Titans came up with a timely kill from Zach White to tie things at 25 and after some back-and-forth, White blasted two emphatic kills that sealed a 1-0 set advantage for GBS. 

New Trier’s Sam Patterson rises to make a set in a sectional semifinal Saturday.

“Our message was, we were really embracing the fact that we’re a wild-card team,” New Trier coach Sue Ellen Haak said. “We beat them and we’ve also lost to them twice, but every time it’s neck-and-neck. GBS is a good team and we were right there with them.” 

New Trier (20-13) is the lone team to defeat GBS (36-1) this season.

The Trevians went up 7-1 early in the first set, as juniors David Wolff, Nachtwey and senior Kristaps Andersons each recorded kills in New Trier’s initial run.

The Titans slowly inched their way back and tied the match for the first time at 23-23, before the heavyweight tit-for-tat began for the set’s final stretch. 

With set point in their favor at 28-27, the Trevians were looking for a net violation call against the Titans; instead, the call went against them, allowing GBS to even the game.

Kris Blumberg buried a kill on the next point, Wolff evened it at 29-29 with a kill, then White recorded his consecutive kills for the set victory.

GBS tallied 29 total kills on the day.

“We were very confident that we could beat them today. Unfortunately, it didn’t go our way,” Andersons said. “They just wanted it more at the end and it happens. They played a great game. We started out strong. We were confident and slowly started to let loose a bit and they overtook the lead.”

In the second set, GBS’s Alex Rupprecht went on a serving run that pushed the Titans’ lead all the way to 17-9.

New Trier senior Kristaps Andersons (16) swats a kill attempt off the Titans block.

Nachtwey recorded three kills in short succession to pull the Trevians within six, 20-14, but the Titans finished the game off in short order after that. 

Nachtwey and Wolff, both juniors, combined for 14 kills. Fellow junior Shane Sullivan provided New Trier with energy and efficiency from the setter position for the Trevians. 

“Our juniors and underclassmen are super solid and they’re big competitors,” Haak said. “They’re not afraid of the big game. They want to play in the big game. They want the ball in the big game.”

Andersons was proud to rep the blue and green all the way into the section rounds.

“Something that I look forward to all year, representing your school, getting to play with this amazing team every day, sad to see it come to an end, but it’s been a great ride,” Andersons said. 

Andersons is joined by Tristan Macpherson, Sam Patterson, Graham Kauffman and Sean Hoeper as graduating seniors. 

“We’re a young team for sure. Only five seniors and with every year, these younger guys are getting better,” Anderson said. “David, amazing season, Hudson too, Shane, all of them to be honest, I think the future is very bright for our program.”

Kaleb Carter

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