The last time the girls’ volleyball team at Glenbard West had a winning season was 1984.
The season has gone so well this year, the Hilltopper’s coach Pete Mastandrea doesn’t want to see it come to a close.
“I can’t believe we are down to this point already, it’s been so fast and so fun,” he said.
The girls varsity volleyball team has come a long way over the last four years, Mastandrea said. He started coaching at West seven years ago and with the team’s coaching staff has worked to build the program’s strengths.
“It’s been a whole process, a changing of the culture and getting the kids to buy in and having a staff that’s stuck together through this whole process.” Mastandrea said. “It’s a unique situation.”
The team has many strong players, including Caleigh Ryan and Amanda Perry, who Mastandrea said have been four-year starters in the program. They have seen the team go from season wins of 21 and 16 to 26 and 10 to where they are today, which was unbeaten as of last week, he said.
“They saw this journey take off,” he said.
Mastandrea and the other team coaches have taken steps over the years to help the players see that they could get it done and have a winning season, he said.
The team’s players started the year off on a cruise along Lake Michigan during the Chicago Air & Water Show, he said.
“What was significant is that we thought our team was smooth sailing ahead and headed in the right direction. And, if you rocked the boat it would only cause problems for the program,” he said.
He thinks they’ve taken a step each year and with each group of players to take the team to a higher level.
“The first year the kids kind of laughed me. And, I told them one day we would play to full crowds. And we’ve done that,” he said.
Among the team’s players, Mastandrea said, Julia Waggoner and Megan Wagner have been two-year starters who have been strong contributors. Megan leads the team in kills. In addition, seniors Maddie Payne, Nicole Schlessar and Meg Demaar have also made great contributions, with Demaar known as one of the best defenders in the state.
“Each senior group has taken us a step further,” he said. “I think we will better our record.”
Now, the team is setting its focus on regionals and what comes afterward, he said.
“Anything from this point on is just preparation for that playoff game, the tougher the competition the better,” Mastandrea said. “It would be nice for us to win [remaining games], but I want to be prepared for that playoff game.”