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Gabe Schwartz is Lake County Boys Volleyball Player of Year

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Gabe Schwartz’s absence on the first day of the Lake County Invitational in April caused speculation among his Lake Zurich teammates and coaches.

The junior outside hitter was out sick that Friday, and it was unclear whether he would be available the next day.

“The whole time, we were thinking, ‘Is he going to come back? Is he going to play on Saturday?’” Lake Zurich coach Brett Stuart said.

The Bears won their matches without him on Friday, but Schwartz was determined to play in the rest of the event.

“My teammates did a great job winning all of those matches,” he said. “We had an opportunity to win all three matches the next day and to win the tournament. So I needed to go to that.

“I felt really well in the second two games. I finally got into my groove.”

Indeed, Schwartz recorded 20 kills in those three matches, all victories, as the Bears won the tournament title.

“I would say he was our player of the day,” Stuart said.

Schwartz, the 2024 News-Sun Boys Volleyball Player of the Year, was no less productive in other matches this season. He led Lake Zurich (26-11) with 351 kills and 58 aces, and he ranked second with 478 serve-receives.

During a four-match stretch in May, Schwartz averaged 14.5 kills, which included 21 in a three-set loss to Glenbrook North. He then averaged 9.5 kills during the Bears’ two postseason matches.

“Everyone wants to be the star player, and for it to be me, it feels pretty great,” he said.

Lake Zurich's Gabe Schwartz at the school Tuesday, June 4, 2024. (Brian O'Mahoney for the News-Sun)
Lake Zurich’s Gabe Schwartz works out in the school gym on Tuesday, June 4, 2024. (Brian O’Mahoney / News-Sun)

Schwartz was also named the North Suburban Conference player of the year and was picked for the Illinois Volleyball Coaches Association’s all-state second team.

“I think all of his recognition so far as his postseason has been very well-deserved, one of those things that is really a direct result of all of the hard work he puts in both during the high school season but then also in the offseason with the club team he plays at and everything else he does,” Stuart said.

Schwartz had already made an impact as a sophomore last season. In his varsity debut, he led the Bears in kills, aces and serve-receives, and he was named all-conference.

“He quickly blossomed into really our go-to hitter,” Stuart said.

Schwartz was introduced to the sport by his mother, Noel, who played for Saint Joseph’s College, and his brother Jonah, who played for Stuart at Lake Zurich before graduating in 2021.

“I’ve known of Gabe for a while,” Stuart said. “He came to some of his older brother’s matches, and then I remember seeing him play for the first time when Gabe was in eighth grade. I obviously saw that he has a lot of talent, skill and potential. It came about quickly.”

Schwartz’s high school career is moving quickly too. He wants to take his game to a higher level in his final season.

“I feel like I have a bigger role on this team, especially becoming a senior now, and hopefully I’ll be a captain next year,” he said.

Isi Frank Ativie is a freelance reporter.



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