Oak Lawn ended its remarkable turn-around season with a fight to the finish Tuesday night.
After losing a decisive first set, the fourth-seeded Spartans put a scare into top-seeded Hinsdale South in the Class 4A Riverside-Brookfield Sectional semifinals, but it wasn’t enough as the Hornets made a comeback to win 25-10, 26-24.
Hinsdale South (31-7) had to rally to win its 13th consecutive match after trailing 21-17 in the second set. The Hornets used a series of back slides from setter Sharon Anderson to middle hitters Samantha Noble and Jackie Adelphia and then kills leader Jessica Brezwyn (match-high 11 kills, two blocks) scored three of the Hornets’ final four points on kills.
The Hornets advanced to a sectional final for the second time in three years and will play District 86 rival and sixth-seeded Hinsdale Central (13-25), a 25-22, 18-25, 25-21 winner over second-seeded St. Ignatius (28-10). The sectional final at 7 p.m. Thursday is a rematch of Hinsdale South’s 25-19, 23-25, 25-15 win over Central on Oct. 16.
“It feels great,” said Brezwyn, a North Carolina-Greensboro recruit. “I knew going into the sectional that we had a lot of potential. We came through.”
Oak Lawn (25-8) recovered in the second set after giving up the first seven points to begin the match. The Spartans had three consecutive blocks from Simona Tomczak, Bree Markusic and Tracy Peck early in the second set and went on a 8-1 run to open a 21-17 lead. Becky Bradshaw had six of her team-high nine kills in the second set for the Spartans, who went 9-22 a year ago.
Tomczak added five kills while senior Rachel Kestian had 13 assists.
“It was amazing. It was great that everyone did this no matter if they were seniors or juniors,” Kestian said. “We had a good mix. Everyone was close. I was not sure how we would mix as a team coming from last year.”
Spartans coach Dennis McNamara blamed nerves for his team’s slow start. Oak Lawn had an opportunity to win the second set after Tomczak’s kill gave the Spartans a 24-23 lead. The Hornets scored the last three points starting with an Adelphia kill followed by a pair of kills by Brezwyn. She ended the match with a tip that went untouched on Oak Lawn’s side of the net.
“Unfortunately, we gave Game 1 away, but I knew what type of team I had,” McNamara said.
The Hornets haven’t lost since dropping their last three matches at the Mizuno Cup Oct. 6. Adelphia added six kills and Rachel Kent had four kills. Anderson had 24 assists.