Glenbard West sophomore Paulie Bischoff spent Tuesday at home with a 102 degree fever. He was still under the weather Thursday, but toward the end of the day, he was feeling a lot better.
Bischoff had 28 assists, five kills, seven digs and and a block at the end of Game 3 that lifted No. 9 Glenbard West to a 18-25, 25-20, 30-28 victory over Downers South in a West Suburban crossover in Downers Grove.
“Oh yeah, I’m definitely feeling a lot better,” the 6-2 setter said. “I was running out of gas a little bit. I was still on meds today at school and I was feeling kind of down, but coming off the game, playing so hard, I just kind of forgot about it and had a great day.
“I’m going to sleep well.”
The win avenged a 23-25, 25-20, 25-13 loss to Downers South in the regional finals last year, a win that propelled the Mustangs to the state title.
“We wanted this really bad,” said Glenbard West sophomore Kyler Kotsakis, who led the Hilltoppers with eight kills and two blocks. “Watching from the stands last year was pretty hard. Now to get on the court and contribute to the win … that was really nice.”
Downers Grove South (22-8) used a 6-0 run to break a 16-16 tie in Game 1, but consecutive kills by 6-4 junior opposite Jackson Nagle allowed the Hilltoppers to pull out Game 2. An 8-1 run, fueled by six Downers South errors, gave Glenbard West (21-5) a 13-10 lead in Game 3.
But the Mustangs stormed back, erasing a 19-15 deficit with an 8-2 run to force a Glenbard West timeout.
“I was pretty tired at the end,” Kotsakis said. “It was pretty hot in this gym. Luckily, we’re used to it. It’s pretty hot in our gym, too.”
It was Bischoff who was hot at the end. His kill at 27-27 gave Glenbard West the second of four consecutive match points, and his block at 29-28 ended it.
Nagle and Will Church each had five kills for Glenbard West, which also got eight digs and four aces from libero Andrew Roberts.
The loss marred outstanding performances by Downers South seniors Tyler Kaczmarek and Michael Schmitt.
Kaczmarek had 36 assists, three kills and three blocks filling in for Jordan Pawlicki, who was lost for the season Saturday with a broken hand. Schmitt, meanwhile, had 23 kills, including a pair that prevented Glenbard West from winning at 24-23 and 26-25.
“We pretty much had a week to rebuild the team,” Schmitt said. “It’s pretty much a whole new offense adjusting to a new setter. But I like where we are right now. I like how we played. We battled. It was probably the hardest we played all year.
“Hopefully, we’ll see them again sometime.”