Hinsdale Central stops Glenbard West winning streak

Ally Davis and Hinsdale Central have been in an inexplicable funk the season's first few weeks.

Perhaps they snapped out of it Tuesday.

Davis had 15 kills and 5 blocks, rallying the No. 11 Red Devils past Glenbard West 17-25, 25-19, 25-21 in Glen Ellyn.

Hinsdale Central (6-4, 1-1 West Suburban Silver), which was 33-6 last year, won its second straight match after losing to York for the third time.

"We've had our share of ups and downs lately and we're still trying to jell," Davis said. "We've never really had that scrappiness that we had last year; we haven't really clicked. Finally tonight after the first game we just said, 'This isn't us. Let's go.'"

Davis played five rotations Tuesday as opposed to her usual three plus serve, part of a Red Devils lineup juggle. The Hinsdale Central junior was dominant in Game 3, putting down 8 of her kills. A Davis kill capped a 3-0 Red Devils run to put them ahead for good at 16-13. At match point she dropped in a soft kill over a double block.

"She was very good tonight," Hinsdale Central coach Sheralynn Kellough said. "She's somebody that works very hard, she knows the game really well and has a good head on her shoulders in terms of when to push people and when to cheer, and when to talk to her team about making adjustments."

Kellough has seen tremendous growth from Davis in her third varsity season.

"There's a lot of pressure on her," Kellough said, "but she's somebody that handles it well and wants to be part of what we're doing. She wants to be part of the solution. It kills her to be on the bench when we're down."

Glenbard West (11-3, 0-1), gunning for a statement win over a ranked team, saw its nine-match winning streak snapped. Laura Luczak had 10 kills for the Hilltoppers, 3 in an impressive first game that saw Glenbard West never trail.

Glenbard West led 8-3 in Game 2 and 12-9 in Game 3 but couldn't apply the knockout punch.

"I think Hinsdale Central's experience in big matches kind of shined at the end," Glenbard West coach Pete Mastandrea said. "We couldn't stop Davis when we needed to."

Amanda Perry, one of three Glenbard West sophomores in the lineup, had 6 kills.

"They're a nice team," Mastandrea said, "but you know we're a nice team too. We're a team with some seasoned veterans and we have some very talented young kids. Everybody left disappointed at Glenbard West tonight, and I'm happy with that."

Shaky passing plagued Hinsdale Central throughout Game 1. But the Red Devils resembled the relentless defensive team in Game 3 that got them to a sectional final last year.

That scrappiness was epitomized in two long rallies that resulted in Alyssa Giovannoni kills, cutting short a late Glenbard West comeback and giving Hinsdale Central a 24-19 advantage. Natalia Skiba had 10 kills and 9 digs and Katarina Milojevic 7 kills for Hinsdale Central, which heads to the Wheaton Classic this weekend as the No. 1 seed.

"For whatever reason we've got into a little bit of a funk," Kellough said, "and we've had a hard time getting out of it. Losing three matches to the same team hurts, and it's hard to get over that hump and I know they were very frustrated by it.

"We're a great team and we have a ton of talent. We want to find that chemistry again and run with it."