Glenbard WestCoach: Christine Guinta 2012 record: 31-6
Top players: Johnny Davis sr. OH Jacob Stone sr. OH/S Kee Gales sr. S Andrew Roberts jr. DS Kyle Blane jr. Opp
What to watch: Having reached incredible heights as a program over the past couple of years, a younger version of the Hilltoppers will try to continue that success this spring.
With eight seniors lost to graduation, Glenbard West features just three seniors to go with 12 juniors and two sophomores.
While last year's team featured size and a dominant offensive game, the 2013 Hilltoppers could rely on their defense this time around. And that is perfectly acceptable to head coach Christine Guinta, who is lauding the work ethic of this group.
"We are young but they are workhorses," she said. "They work harder than anybody, that is how we are going to win. We've developed a culture of work hard, play hard and never take anything for granted. That is how they practice and treat each other which is nice.
"And they are very self-motivated. It is about managing them more than coaching them."
Depth and versatility should be two strong points for Glenbard West. The Hilltoppers go two-deep, and sometimes three, at every position, and have many guys who can play multiple positions.
"We have a very deep bench which is nice," the coach said. "No one has earned a spot yet. We are still trying to figure out who will be on the floor.
"We will have a lot of versatility on the floor. I will be able to pull somebody out or move someone around during the middle of a game. My setters can even play defense and serve-receive. We are really balanced."
The team's first goal is to repeat as West Suburban Silver champions after capturing the program's first crown last spring. The Hilltoppers were undefeated at 6-0. In fact, all three levels swept conference play.
"LT is probably the top competition," Guinta said. "York has changed its program around and Hinsdale Central has a new coach. We are in the toughest sectional and toughest conference in the state. If we want to get out, that's what we have to do."
Glenbard West opens the season on Tuesday with a home matchup against Hinsdale South. The match will also double as a "If the Shoe Fits" fundraiser. Donated shoes will be given to those in need.
The Hilltoppers will compete at the Glenbard East Springfest tournament on April 6 and the Brother Rice Smack Fest event on April 19-20 and also host the "Feed the Need" fundraiser May 8 against St. Francis.