Girls Volleyball: Mother McAuley holds off Hinsdale Central

Story Image Ryann DeJarld, of Mother McAuley, spikes the ball over the reach of Hinsdale Central's Meghan McDonwell for the super sectional title at Mother McAuley, Saturday, November 3rd, 2012 in Chicago, IL. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
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Updated: November 3, 2012 8:47PM

It was several minutes after host Mother McAuley had beaten Hinsdale Central 25-17, 25-15 to capture Saturday’s Class 4A supersectional, and very few of the McAuley faithful had left the gym.

Historically, Mother McAuley celebrates well after big wins. To do it at home…

“I can’t even talk. There aren’t any words for this,” Mighty Macs senior Kelly Clarke marveled as she looked around at the sea of red and gold. “It’s the best feeling you can ever have.”

Clarke already had stated her case. The 6-foot-1 middle blocker stepped up against a tall order on the other side of the net with six kills and five blocks to help lead Mother McAuley to its first state appearance since 2008.

The Mighty Macs (35-4) will play New Trier in Friday’s Class 4A semifinals at Illinois State University’s Redbird Arena.

Another senior, Michelle Konecki, was key for McAuley with eight digs, and the Mighty Macs also got solid efforts from sophomores Carla Cahill (12 digs), Ryann DeJarld (7 kills, 9 digs) and Kelsey Clark (4 kills) and junior Courtney Joyce (23 assists, 8 digs).

Hinsdale Central (14-26), which shocked Hinsdale South in a sectional final, was led by Rachael Lenderman (11 digs), Coco Bergdoll (9 digs, 3 kills) and Meghan McDowell (12 assists, 4 kills).

The Mighty Macs trailed just once, at 1-0 in the second set, but didn’t put the Red Devils away without some frustration at trying to hit through a front line featuring the 6-foot-4 McDowell, 6-3 Lauren Fuller and 6-2 Dominique Millette.

“They do have some really tall girls and they were really good blockers,” DeJarld said. “I was just adjusting my angles, but they got up so high. Finally, I just started focusing on where I wanted to put the ball.”

DeJarld’s first kill broke a 10-10 tie in Set 1. She added three more and a set-ending ace as the Mighty Macs gradually pulled away.

Set 2 saw Central stay within 14-10 before a booming kill by Clarke on a quick-set from Joyce began a 4-0 blitz. Back-to-back kills by Molly Geary fueled an eventual runaway.

“Last year we thought we were going to go and it was tough (to lose),” Konecki said. “This year we’re trying our hardest and all of our hard work is paying off. We’re going to state!”

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