Ohrnstein, Galiga pace Glenbard West
With a lineup shaken up by an injury, Glenbard West leaned on some seniors Tuesday night, plenty of seniors.
With 6-foot Quiana Ware out with an ankle sprain suffered over the weekend, the Hilltoppers still had four-year varsity starters Natalie Schilling and Katie Wagner to lead the way against visiting Downers Grove North.
The two veterans were their usual great selves on the court, but Glenbard West also received a big boost from fellow seniors Kaitlyn Orhnstein and Mariana Galiga, two players asked to take on bigger roles. They did just that in the 25-19, 25-18 West Suburban Silver defeat of the Trojans.
"In the first game I think we were all just getting used to the new lineup since the Quiana injury happened so soon," said Wagner, the veteran setter who had 27 assists and 7 digs. "We had a lot of seniors playing and they stepped up and showed their leadership."
The opener was tight throughout, with seven ties along the way before a powerful attack from Schilling put the hosts on top for good at 17-16. The Duke-bound Schilling added back-to-back kills to take a 24-19 lead before an ace by Wagner gave the first set to the Hilltoppers (20-3).
The nightcap was not as tight. Glenbard West took a 7-2 lead following a kill by Galiga and went on to close out the sweep 25-18 after a winning tip by Schilling dropped over the Trojans' front row and landed safely for her 19th kill of the match.
"We knew we just needed to close it out to get momentum for the second game," Schilling said of surviving the back-and-forth first set. "We got used to our new lineup … we told them before the game that we were all really confident in them. They did what they needed to do."
Hilltoppers coach Peter Mastandrea admitted to being nervous about facing a solid Downers North team without Ware.
"That was a whole new lineup we played and without Quiana we were very nervous," he said after reaching 20 wins on the year and taking another step toward a fifth straight 30-win campaign. "Downers North is a very good, well-coached team, and we were very nervous about this match."
Ohrnstein chipped in 4 kills, Galiga had 3 digs and 4 service points, and Ella Ridinger, taking on more responsibilities, had 6 kills and 6 digs.
"The two seniors came through. Kaitlyn Orhnstein and Mariana Galiga, two kids who haven't been in the lineup, played like seniors today," Mastandrea added.
For the Trojans (12-8), who took third at the Warrior Blast on Saturday after beating Rosary, three players led the way with 5 kills apiece -- Margaret Mahlke, Alexia May and Leah Rogoz.
Downers North coach Mark Wasik said his team just didn't pass at its best when needed, and also couldn't do enough to slow down Schilling.
"Glenbard West did a nice job mixing up their serves. I don't think we passed terribly poorly," Wasik said.
"But we passed bad when we needed a sideout, and obviously their big gun is a load."