Girls Volleyball: Mother McAuley KO’s Marist at Asics ChallengeGabrielle Ennis, of McAuley, spikes the ball against Notre Dame (KY) during the gold semi-final match for the Asics Challenge at Mother McAuley, Saturday, September 29th, 2012 in Chicago, IL. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 29, 2012 8:15PM
Saturday’s third-place match in the Asics Challenge at Mother McAuley was also the third round of what has developed into a punch-counterpunch battle for Southland supremacy between the host Mighty Macs and Marist.
This time, score a knockdown for Mother McAuley, which pounded away from all angles in a 25-15, 25-16 victory.
Setter Courtney Joyce (20 assists) had a field day spreading the ball around and getting positive results from Kelsey Clark (eight kills), Kennedy Arundel (six kills) and Ryann DeJarld (five kills). Carla Cahill added 13 digs and Michelle Konecki seven digs as the Mighty Macs improved to 17-2.
Marist (18-5) was led by Mallory Salis (seven kills, 11 digs), Elyse Panick (five kills), Rachel Dalton (three kills) and Taylor Holder (seven assists).
Just a week ago Marist dominated at the net during the final two games to beat McAuley in the championship match at the Rich East Invitational. There was no sign of that on Saturday.
Mother McAuley was aggressive throughout, starting with service runs by Konecki that resulted in a 9-0 lead in Game 1 and a 6-1 start in Game 2.
“I always try to serve the zone that (Coach Jen DeJarld) gives me,” Konecki said. “Today she had a really good strategy, and I was really into the game. I wanted to win really bad.”
The Mighty Macs were adept at not letting Marist get on any huge runs, like the RedHawks were able to do at Rich East after falling behind 9-2 in Game 3. The RedHawks maxed out at one four-point run in each game. Both ended with kills for Mother McAuley by DeJarld and Arundel.
“The past couple of weeks we haven’t been terminating in the second game as much,” Ryann DeJarld said. “This time we were really focused on the second game, to carry it on from the first game. We were fired up.”
After sweeping a pair of matches in pool play on Friday, the Mighty Macs beat Pius XI in the quarterfinals 31-29, 25-18 and lost to Kentucky powerhouse Notre Dame in the semi 25-20, 17-25, 25-14.
Marist also won twice on Friday and captured a tough quarterfinal battle against St. Francis 22-25, 25-13, 25-15. The RedHawks were eliminated from title contention in the semi by Assumption 25-23, 25-23. In the Assumption match, they made an impressive Game 2 rally from a 23-15 deficit to get within 24-23.
Assumption went on to defeat Notre Dame in the title match 25-14, 25-16.
Stagg (19-5) went 3-2 for the weekend, capturing third place in the Silver division via a 25-21, 23-25, 29-27 victory over Cary Grove.