Girls State Volleyball: Mother McAuley takes third in Class 4A
By Tony Baranek firstname.lastname@example.org November 10, 2012 11:12PM
St. Francis players celebrate with the first place trophyafter defeating Richmond-Burton during their class 3A volleyball state championship title game at Redbird Arena in Normal, IL Saturday, November 10, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 10, 2013 1:46AM
NORMAL — It’s a process recovering when opportunity knocks and you don’t answer the door.
Mother McAuley did a pretty good job of processing after losing to New Trier in Friday night’s Class 4A semifinal.
“Their hearts were broken last night. We felt sorry for ourselves, slept on it, had a good practice this morning and we were ready to go,” coach Jen DeJarld said after McAuley bounced back Saturday to claim third place with a 25-22, 25-22 victory over Libertyville.
Ryann DeJarld led the way for the Mighty Macs (36-5) with eight kills and as many digs. Kelly Clarke added six kills, Gabrielle Ennis five kills, Michelle Konecki 13 digs, Carla Cahill 12 digs and Courtney Joyce 22 assists and 12 digs.
Libertyville (34-8) was led by Julia Smagacz (7 kills), Taylor Zant (5 kills), Cindy Zhou (16 assists) and Kristen Webb (20 assists).
For McAuley, it was the 21st state trophy (a state record), achieved with a team that expects to return 11 players in 2013.
“I’m happy about what we have coming back,” Jen DeJarld said. “We’re losing four pretty special girls (Konecki, Clarke, Erica Harris and Patsy Boland). It’s always hard to lose seniors, especially as good as these girls.
“But yeah, we’ve got a pretty good crop coming back, and a pretty good crop on the JV level. And I’m really happy about this. It sets a tone for us that we can continue and be blessed to be back here again.”
The No. 1 issue Friday for the Macs, hitting into New Trier’s taller blockers, resurfaced early against Libertyville, as combinations of Jordan Bauer, Smagacz and Zhou produced three consecutive blocks and a 5-4 lead.
Ryann DeJarld, however, started a trend for the Macs by hitting crosscourt and away from the double blocks, landing three in a six-point run that gave the McAuley a 10-5 lead.
“I just told Courtney to set me kind of inside because their block wasn’t moving with us,” DeJarld said. “They have high hands and it was definitely hard to hit the line. You’ve just got to focus where you want to put the ball, and if you do it’ll happen for you.”
A slew of unforced errors by McAuley and solid defense by Libertyville allowed the Wildcats to close back and eventually build a 22-20 lead.
The Macs caught back to back to back breaks on Libertyville miscues before Ennis landed a perfectly placed tip for kill, and DeJarld put another spike down to win Set 1.
“I really feed off the team,” said Ennis, who would have one of her best matches of the season. “When we’re just molding, just everyone’s on. It’s just so much more fun to play, and you just have this confidence in yourself because your teammates give it to you.”
The second set was much like the first, with lead swapping throughout. Again, at 22-all it was Ennis providing a spark with a kill, after which DeJarld went back to back with successful spikes to close it out.
Benet 21-25-25, New Trier 25-22-17: Benet (40-2) captured the Class 4A state title with a come-from-behind victory. The Redwings were led by Cara Mattaliano (21 kills), Brittany Pavich (9 kills) and Sheila Doyle (13 digs).
Wheaton St. Francis 25-25, Richmond-Burton 21-20: St. Francis (37-5) claimed the state title in straight sets as Molly Haggerty had 2 kills, McKenna Kelsay 27 assists and Maddie Haggerty eight digs.
Champaign Centennial 25-25, Jacksonville 15-19: Centennial won the third-place match behind nine kills by Rachel Jones and 15 assists by Madison Weldon.