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Girls volleyball: Glenbard West downs Geneva in sectional final

Geneva's Hannah Lanasgoes for kill during Thursday's sectional match. | Joe Cyganowski~ For Sun Times Media

Geneva's Hannah Lanasa goes for a kill during Thursday's sectional match. | Joe Cyganowski~ For Sun Times Media

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Updated: December 3, 2012 6:45AM

It took nearly two hours but after a grueling and exhausting marathon of a match, top-seeded Glenbard West outlasted second-seeded Geneva 25-27, 27-25, 25-21 to capture its first Class 4A sectional title at Larkin High School on Thursday night.

Megan Wagner had 14 kills to lead the Hilltoppers. Caleigh Ryan had 45 assists.

“It was exactly what I was telling people it was going to be like,” Glenbard West coach Pete Mastandrea said. “I told everyone expect to be here awhile because its going to be a three-game battle, the volleys are going to be ridiculous and the defense is going to be amazing. That was just an unreal match. I have to pinch myself because I think I’m dreaming. It came down to a test of wills. What an amazing win for our program.”

After letting a three-point lead get away late in Game 1, the Hilltoppers squandered a five-point lead in Game 2 and trailed 21-19. However, three straight hitting errors by Geneva sparked a 6-0 run to put Glenbard West up 24-21. Geneva managed to tie it at 25-25, but the Hilltoppers scored the next two points including a game-winning kill from Katie Ball to force a third game.

Glenbard West (37-2) led by a narrow 16-14 margin in Game 3 before back-to-back kills by Wagner ignited a 5-0 run to give the Hilltoppers a 21-14 cushion. Geneva got no closer than three points the rest of the way.

“This is so exciting it’s hard to put in words,” Wagner said. “We have been working so hard to make this happen. We knew coming in it was going to be a great match and we were going to have to be at our very best.”

Mastandrea couldn’t say enough about the play of his senior floor leader and setter Caleigh Ryan.

“She’s already an all-stater, but in my book she has to be the player of the year,” Mastandrea said. “I don’t know why I get so nervous in these matches when she has the ball 80 percent of the time. It couldn’t be be in better hands. She calms us down when things get crazy. She keeps us in the game when we get down. She lifts us up. She is a tremendous leader.”

Geneva finishes the season 29-10.

“That’s what a sectional championship should be,” Geneva coach KC Johnsen said. “I thought both teams just played outstanding. They just got a little momentum at the right time.”

Hannah Buck had 17 kills to lead the Vikings. Courtney Caruso had 19 assists and Kelly Dalheim had 41 digs.

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