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Girls Volleyball: Coal City tops Lincoln-Way West in three sets

Coal City's Nicole Borgetti (15) Emily Halliday (3) Kassie Aldridge (6) Carly Pavlis celebrate 25-20 wfirst set against Lincoln-Way West.

Coal City's Nicole Borgetti (15), Emily Halliday (3), Kassie Aldridge (6) and Carly Pavlis celebrate a 25-20 win in the first set against Lincoln-Way West. | Raymundo Luna/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 7, 2013 6:30AM



Coal City’s Claire Smith chalked it up to one thing and one thing only: a senior wanting to keep playing.

After the Coalers faltered in the second set Tuesday night in their Class 3A sectional, Smith put her team on her back in the third set, helping Coal City defeat Lincoln-Way West 25-20, 24-26, 25-16 in a semifinal.

“I think it was kind of the drive of senior year,” Smith said. “It’s survival mode, and you want to do your best. Everyone helped turn it around, started meshing better.”

Coal City (23-9-2) will play St. Francis, a two-set winner over Joliet Catholic in the other semifinal, at 7 p.m. Thursday for the sectional title.

Smith (9 kills, 5 aces), Emily Halliday (12 kills, 16 digs) Kassie Aldridge (29 assists) and Britta Spelde (10 kills) sparked the Coalers vs. West.

Holding a 23-19 lead in the second set, Coal City seemingly was in the driver’s seat, maybe even looking ahead to Thursday a bit, when West (22-16) pounced.

Rachel Johnson (2 aces) and Carissa Lorenz (2 kills) sparked a huge 7-1 run to turn things around, forcing a third set.

“Once we had a couple of bad passes, a couple of bad errors, we got down on ourselves,” Spelde said. “We couldn’t catch ourselves up, but it was a good thing we got it together in the third game.”

An undersized middle at 5-foot-9, Smith helped bring the team together, providing a spark at the net. With the Coalers up 10-9, Smith reeled off five of her team’s next seven points, including a late ace as Coal City eventually went up 20-11.

Spelde added an ace and two big kills down the stretch.

“Once the third game started we knew we had to kick it into gear,” Spelde said.

Lorenz (10 kills, 6 blocks), Katie Davis (26 assists), Dani Morgan (7 kills) and Mary Kate Gaffney (15 digs) led a Lincoln-Way West squad coming off its first regional title.

“We kind of lost our energy there (in the third),” said Lorenz, a four-year varsity player. “We got frustrated, our serve-receive was off, and everything was off. We weren’t playing like ourselves. We had a good run.”



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