After Glenbard North dispatched Streamwood 25-12, 25-23 on Monday in a Class 4A West Chicago regional quarterfinal, coach Jennifer Farinella stressed one thing to her team.
Look Glenbard West straight in the eye on Tuesday night.
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"I told them to go into it believing in themselves. If they play their game, it will be great competition," she said.
By prevailing over the Sabres, seeded 17th in the Geneva sectional, the 15th-seeded Panthers earned the right to face the top-seeded Hilltoppers in the 6 p.m. semifinal Tuesday. Glenbard North and Glenbard West did not face each other during the regular season.
"We're really excited for tomorrow and plan to come in aggressive," said Panthers junior Sarah Petzold, who finished with 3 kills and an ace. "It's great for the seniors to play another day. They deserve it. They've done their best."
Glenbard North earned its 11th win of the season by fighting off the Sabres' aggressiveness in the second game.
Streamwood took control from the start. A Lexi Engram made it 6-2 Sabres, and the Panthers called a timeout. When play resumed, a hitting error by Glenbard North made it 7-2.
Streamwood held a 2-5-point advantage until Petzold took over serving and an ace by her and two Sabres hitting errors gave the Panthers their first advantage of the second game at 18-16.
Streamwood tied it twice more at 21 and 22 and took its final lead of the night with a kill by Kaitlyn Hedger at 23-22.
However, three straight Sabres hitting errors gave Glenbard North the game and match.
"We fixed a couple of things that we needed to work on for that second game and we were in it for most of it," said Streamwood coach Lisa Vazzana, whose team finished with eight wins.
The Sabres enjoyed a strong start to the season, but injuries cost a big chunk of the roster playing time. So considering that situation, Vazzana liked how her team responded in that second game.
"We have had players play a lot of different position, but they definitely had the ability to pull that game through," she said.
With Streamwood starting a freshman and sophomore Monday night and with some solid freshmen at the JV level, Vazzana is optimistic about next season.
"If they stick with it and work hard, I'm looking for good things in 2014," she said.
Game 1 was all Panthers. Senior Stephanie Tobison, who led the Panthers with 4 kills, 2 aces and a block, served up five straight points, mostly Sabres hitting errors, to help her team take the lead at 10-6. One of her blocks made it 19-9 and her two aces helped close the opening game in her team's favor.