Death, taxes, Glenbrook North winning important matches in the CSL North.
Ironically enough, GBN’s 25-22, 25-19 victory over Deerfield to put them atop the CSL North happened to fall on tax deadline day. Arguably the only event as consistent as the GBN boys volleyball program over the past 20 years.
“We felt like they were the main competition in the conference. Everybody is pretty good this year but I felt like those guys probably had the best chance of beating us,” said GBN head coach Chris Cooper. “Tonight that is as consistent and error free as we’ve played all year.”
The opening portion of the match saw a flurry of kills between the two opposing middles, Deerfield’s Jacob Shapiro (eight kills, three blocks) and GBN’s Mike Roane (seven kills, two blocks).
Shapiro was especially sharp early on starting the match with three kills from three attacks to keep the game level early on.
“He’s like a scorer in basketball. You’re not going to be able to stop him but if you can limit the other guys and keep them from getting hot, then you have a chance,” said Cooper. “Mike [Roane] also had a really nice match, he was able to go against Shapiro and basically go toe to toe, kill for kill with him.”
Despite the solid start from Deerfield, things started to go awry not long after. The usually solid connection between setter Caedon Hsieh and his hitters was slightly off, which allowed GBN to open up a six point lead.
After a Deerfield timeout, the Warriors got right back in the game, cutting the deficit to just two points almost immediately. But they were unable to get over the hump as a sterling defensive effort from GBN led by libero Matthew Zhang (10 digs), kept Deerfield at an arms length away for an opening set victory.
Cooper said: “Matt had a really nice match, some other guys had some big digs but we were also really efficient hitting wise. Because we were passing pretty well it kept their middles guessing on where the ball was going.
With a narrow opening set loss to build off of, it would have come to no surprise if Deerfield came out of the break firing, but that was not to be the case.
GBN continued to build off of their first set by containing Shapiro, establishing their middles, and continued aggressive serving.
The success of Roane opened up plenty of opportunities for their pin hitters, especially sophomore Ethan Brodell (10 kills) whose composure on the court rivalled a senior’s rather than an underclassmen as GBN jumped out to a 5-1 lead.
“Ethan has such a great mentality for the game, he plays a mental game so much older then he is,” said Cooper. “He’s been playing up in age level since he started playing so he’s used to playing varsity guys but you would never know he’s a sophomore out there because physically and mentally he plays like a senior.”
Although Deerfield didn’t lose any more ground after, the extremely efficient GBN attack managed to side out on nearly every opportunity, which never allowed the Warriors to get back in the match by stringing a few points together.
Both teams will continue with conference play on Thursday evening, as Deerfield will look to rebound from their 0-2 start to the week with a match against Maine West, while GBN will host Maine East.