Girls volleyball: Well-prepared Glenbard West advances past Wheaton North

 
By D.J. Wanberg
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 10/30/2017 10:25 PM
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There are many aspects to succeeding at volleyball. Glenbard West pointed to its scouting of Wheaton North as the big reason why it won 25-12, 25-19 in the second semifinal of the Class 4A Glenbard West sectional Monday night.

The Hilltoppers (29-9), seeded second, face top-seeded Downers Grove North at 6 p.m. Wednesday for the sectional title. The Trojans defeated St. Francis in three sets in the first semifinal.

"Our coaches spend hours scouting our opponents. We work with what they give us and we study and know what the players are going to do," said junior libero Katie Ryan.

The Falcons (25-13) came out strong in the second set, earning a 3-1 lead on a hit by McKenna Otto, who led her team with 10 kills. 

Glenbard West took the lead and Wheaton North tied the contest three times before a block by the HIlltoppers' Ellory Graff gave her team a 12-11 advantage. Glenbard West never gave the lead back again.

The Hilltoppers led 22-18 before kills by Kaitlyn Dumerer, Nina Crawford and two by Ellory Graff put the set and match away.

Junior middle blocker and starter Ananda Patterson injured her left knee late in the first set. Glenbard West coach Pete Mastandrea said the extent of the injury was not known but praised the play of junior Nicholette Adamski, who replaced Patterson.

"This was her first playing time of note," Mastandrea said.

The Glenbard West coach said the team is happy that it will play Downers Grove North again and that the Hilltoppers are not the same team than when the two squads met in September.

"We've wanted this game. We've grown a lot," he said.

The first half of the first set was fairly identical to the second set. The Hilltoppers had small leads and the Falcons tied the set for the final time at 10 on a shot by Emmy Barnhorst. 

Later, Graff took over serving, and when she was done, Glenbard West was ahead 23-12. That scoring run included an ace by Graff, two kills by Patterson and one by Dumerer.

Other top peformances from the Hilltoppers came from Virginia Curtis, who led with 10 kills. Hannah Brodner led in digs with 12 and Dumerer had 22 assists.

Glenbard West will play another day and the Hilltoppers are enjoying it.

"I'm loving every point. It's an amazing experience," Graff said.

It was a tough ending for Wheaton North. But while the Falcons were disappointed, they put together yet another season that showed they are an area power.

"Cohesion was the key. They really pulled together after last season. Both were very talented squads. The last four years have been the best talent wise," said Falcons coach Carole Kristensen. 

Eve Light led in assists with 11 and Elizabeth LaBue was tops in digs with 12.

Barnhorst, the team's senior captain, finished with 6 kills, 7 digs and 2 blocks. Kristensen said Barnhorst led a group of seniors that was crucial to the Falcons' success.

"You couldn't have asked for anything more from these seniors," Kristensen said.

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