So much for saving your two timeouts for crunchtime. Glenbard West coach Pete Mastandrea burned his early Tuesday night at the Class 4A Larkin sectional.
No. 4 seed St. Charles North jumped on the top-seeded Hilltoppers early, taking advantage of hitting errors on the first two points and building their lead from there.
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So trailing 12-9, Mastandrea called his first time. Down 14-10, he used his second.
Mastandrea knows his team well. The Hilltoppers eventually settled down, rode the hot-hitting of senior Megan Wagner, and defeated the North Stars 25-23, 25-19 to avenge a loss in last year's regional final.
Glenbard West (36-2), who tied a school victories record set by its 1983 state championship team, will play No. 2 seed Geneva (30-7) for the sectional title at 7 p.m. Thursday.
"We weren't playing our game, we were so tightly wound," Mastandrea said. "Sometimes we try too hard. We're a small team, we're a fast team, we have to keep the ball on the court. I could just sense they were a little too excited about it. We've tried this year to balance our emotions and for the most part we have but that wasn't us at the start of the game. We had to settle in."
That the Hilltoppers did though they still trailed 23-21 before Wagner put away three straight kills for a 24-23 lead. Caleigh Ryan then set Katie Ball in the middle for the clinching point.
"We were pretty surprised (at the timeouts) but I think it was the right choice by him," Wagner said. "We really got to regain our energy and relax a little bit and get back into the game."
The North Stars (24-14) took their biggest lead at 19-14 when Claire Anderson put away a free ball set up by Alex Busch's tough serve. But the North Stars couldn't hold off Morgan who had 10 of her match-high 16 kills in Game 1.
"Glenbard West was strong last year and they came back even stronger this year," said North Stars coach Lindsey Hawkins who pointed to her team's strong deep serving for their fast start. "I have to give them credit. She (Wagner) was fantastic last year and I knew going into it she was going to be the girl to stop. She was hard to stop."
The Hilltoppers trailed just once in Game 2 at 2-1. Ryan set Natalie Schilling to put the Hilltoppers ahead to stay at 5-4. They took their biggest lead of the night on match point -- an ace from Ryan.
"Our defense, our setting, everything put together, everything just blended together perfectly," Wagner said. "I think we were just overexcited and too ready to play. We just wanted it so bad. But we bounced back and we're so excited about that."
The North Stars were led by Taylor Krage (9 kills), Alex Stone (3 kills, 6 blocks), Dailey Krage (2 kills), Emily Belz (13 assists), Alex Busch (23 digs), Emily Carroll (5 blocks), Corrine Sullivan (2 kills), Sydney Wohlert (12 digs), Alex Seavey (8 digs, 1 ace) and Renee Rhoades (12 digs)
"It was a really great start," Hawkins said. "A lot of people doubted us and said we would go out without a fight. We wanted to come and prove people wrong. These girls have fought and clawed their way throughout the whole entire season. I knew they had it in them to come out with that kind of start.
The seniors did a great job, I think the young kids responded well."