Girls Volleyball: Mother McAuley outlasts Sandburg in epic battleMother McAuley's Carla Cahill (4) and Ryann DeJarld (10) celebrate with teammates after the Mighty Macs defeated Sandburg in their sectional girls volleyball game in New Lenox Tuesday, October 30, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 30, 2012 10:16PM
Molly Geary was supposed to be a frontliner this season for Mother McAuley, only to spend seven weeks of it working her way back from a bout with mono.
Tuesday night in the first Class 4A Lincoln-Way Central Sectional semifinal, the junior outside hitter was a big reason the Mighty Macs’ season will continue.
Geary’s well-placed liner that dropped a couple of feet in front of the back line brought to an end a 25-21, 25-27, 25-23 classic played before an overflow crowd in New Lenox.
“It felt awesome ... I never expected ... I didn’t know what to expect,” a pretty overwhelmed Geary said moments after the match. “I was kind of on the edge of my seat there and on my toes there on the final point.”
Carla Cahill had 31 digs, Courtney Joyce 36 assists and 11 digs, Ryann DeJarld nine kills and 15 digs, Kelsey Clark 10 kills and Geary four kills and six digs for the Mighty Macs (33-4).
Sandburg (29-9) was led by Dakota Hampton (17 kills), Paige Bendell (eigth kills, 16 assists, 16 digs), Sami Knight (18 assists), Kristy Theisen (seven kills) and Kendall Riechman (16 digs).
A far cry from the McAuley-dominated affair the previous time the two teams met (at the Rich East Invitational), this one was, in Mighty Macs coach Jen DeJarld’s words:
“A bloodbath. A total bloodbath. Both teams played with every single ounce of energy. There were some unbelievable rallies. Both teams were extremely winded out there and still they continued to fight.”
All three sets were tied at one point at 17-all.
McAuley broke way in the first one with a serving run by Joyce that featured an ace, and kills by Clark, Maggie Scanlon and DeJarld.
Sandburg trailed 22-19 in Set 2 before Bendell and Hampton swung them back into contention. It was 25-all when McAuley committed a hitting error to put Hampton at the service line. She responded with a set-ending ace.
Set 3 saw McAuley jump out early and lead by as much as 15-11. Down 22-19, Sandburg roared back with four straight points, the big hits a pair of kills by Kathleen Bollito and Bridget Lebert. But back-to-back hitting errors by the Eagles put McAuley in front before Geary put down her biggest spike of the season.
“When we got four in a row, that was the position we wanted to be in,” Sandburg coach David Vales said. “It’s just tough to do against the No. 22 team in the nation and No. 2 in the state. All we wanted to do is get an opportunity, and that’s what we did.”