Volleyball preview: Hilltoppers have high aspirations

GLEN ELLYN – Having become one of the upper-echelon programs in the area, Glenbard West looks to repeat at West Suburban Silver champs this fall while making another long playoff run.

The Hilltoppers have taken plenty of steps as a program over the past seven years under coach Pete Mastandrea but last season was the biggest one yet.

Not only did Glenbard West win 37 of 40 matches while capturing the West Suburban Silver title, but the squad also reached a Class 4A supersectional before falling to New Trier in three games.

The squad returns to the court with similar aspirations this fall, though the Hilltoppers have to replace an outstanding senior class which included Caleigh Ryan, who is now at Northwestern.

Despite the heavy hit, the cupboard is far from bare. Back at libero is four-year starter Meg DeMaar, who will continue her career at Furman University. Natalie Schilling, whom Mastandrea believes could turn out to be the best hitter the program has ever seen, is a go-to player on the outside while Katie Ball, Caroline Jenkins and Alison Burelbach also return on the front line. Kate Wagner takes over at setter after being in a defensive role in 2012.