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Girls Volleyball: Lincoln-Way North ousts Lincoln-Way Central

Lincoln-Way North’s AllysCappel muscles ball past Lincoln-Way Central’s Mariel Leibovitz Thursday’s regional championship. | Jeff Vorva/For Sun-Times Media

Lincoln-Way North’s Allyson Cappel muscles the ball past Lincoln-Way Central’s Mariel Leibovitz in Thursday’s regional championship. | Jeff Vorva/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 2, 2013 12:42PM



Lincoln-Way North never has crossed paths with Mother McAuley.

“I don’t ever think I’ve been in the same gym with them,” Phoenix veteran coach Mary Brown said.

Thanks to a night of firsts on Thursday, that’s about to change.

North snapped a four-match losing streak against rival Lincoln-Way Central, knocking off the Knights 21-25, 25-21, 25-13 to claim the Class 4A Marian Catholic Regional championship. It marked the first regional title for the sixth-year program and gave the Phoenix its first 30-win season.

And, yes, that means the program will take on Mother McAuley for the first time in school history at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the semifinals of the Sandburg Sectional.

First, the North players want a little time to savor the regional triumph.

On Oct. 15, Central pulled off a 25-18, 16-25, 27-17 win, and this time the regional championship match followed a similar path the first two games.

But the Phoenix grabbed the match by the throat after Rachel Burkman’s kill put North ahead 9-6, and the Phoenix outscored the Knights 16-5 the rest of the way.

“We all stepped up the intensity in the third game,” said senior middle hitter Casey Zimmerman, who had three of her six kills late in the match. “This is awesome. It’s the first time in North history we won a regional. We worked so hard for this. We got a lot better since the last time we played them. We learned a lot from that match.”

Burkman had 10 kills and 10 digs, Brittany Pappas added eight kills and Valen Manns had seven. Shannon Murphy had 28 assists and Niki Wagner had 17 digs.

As for the task of facing nationally ranked McAuley?

“One of our goals was to play them this year,” Zimmerman said. “I just want to say that we played them. We’ll work hard. We’ll watch films. We’ll get ready for them and we’ll be fine.”

Central finished 29-8 and was denied its third straight regional title. The Knights were led by Maria Brown’s 14 kills. Jacqueline Langer had 12 kills and Candace Finin had 10 blocks.

Mariel Leibovitz had 28 assists and Toni Leitshuh came up with 18 digs. Langer added 12 digs for the Knights.



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