Glenbard West defeats Whitney Young
Although this season's practice T-shirts for the Glenbard West girls volleyball team are camouflage, the accompanying message on them remains clear.
"Our motto's been get better every day, get better every week, get better every month, and that's what we've focused on," Glenbard West coach Pete Mastandrea said.
"We've got no more months left, but we've got days and weeks left. I don't care if we're good in December, but the next two weeks are important to us."
The Hilltoppers could have been tempted to look ahead Tuesday, but instead they dominated St. Ignatius 25-13, 25-12 in the semifinals of the Class 4A Riverside-Brookfield sectional.
No. 2-seed Glenbard West (35-5) will meet West Suburban Conference Silver Division rival York (32-6) for the sectional title at 6 p.m. Thursday. The top-seeded Dukes defeated Whitney Young 25-20, 25-20 in the first semifinal.
Duke-bound Glenbard West senior Natalie Schilling had 10 kills. Senior Kate Wagner had 23 assists, Western Michigan-bound senior Quiana Ware had 13 service points with 4 kills and junior libero Claire Wagner had 10 digs.
York beat Glenbard West 18-25, 25-21, 25-19 Sept. 22 in Elmhurst, but the teams shared the conference title after York lost to Lyons Township on Oct. 20.
"We were really focused on this match. We've tried not to talk about what's going to happen Thursday or past that," Schilling said. "We're really trying to take every match at a time so that we don't look past anyone and underachieve from what we can do."
The Hilltoppers were fresh from winning their fourth straight regional title at home, but they had lost in the sectional semifinals the past two seasons. York lost in a different sectional final in 2014.
Only Schilling and Kate Wagner remain from the Hilltoppers' 2012 team that won sectionals and lost to New Trier in a three-game supersectional.
"We were saying we can't think about what's happened to us the last two years, but it was in the back of our minds a little bit," Schilling said. "We had to get some confidence and start playing our game."
The No. 3 Wolfpack (21-12) led early 7-5, but Ware served for seven straight points and a 14-8 advantage. Four-point streaks followed from Kate Wagner to lead 20-11 and Schilling, who served set point.
Schilling had 7 kills in the second game. After 3-point streaks from Mariana Galiga and Schilling, Ware's 5-point serving run opened a 19-6 lead. Schilling contributed back-to-back kills and a block with Rachel Hoder.
"I just told myself to go back there and bombs away," Ware said. "It's really good because sometimes I don't do so well in the front row and I can just release my anger back on the serve."
Lewis-bound York senior Alexandra Preuss had 14 of the Dukes' 26 kills against No. 5 Whitney Young (23-13). Junior Sarah Rose had 21 assists and senior libero Halle Truett had 14 digs.
York coach Patty Iverson didn't rule out the possibility that injured senior Ally Mann could return Thursday. A key component in beating Glenbard West, Mann hasn't played since the Downers Grove South match Oct. 5.