Sandburg takes down Stagg
Updated: March 22, 2011 5:12PM
Sandburg had what Eagles coach David Vales called a "crazy" practice Friday in preparation for Saturday's Class 4A Sandburg Regional final against Stagg.
"Crazy tough, I mean," Vales elaborated after Sandburg's 25-15 25-20 victory. "We just wanted to make sure we were prepared for our home floor. It's a rival school, records go out the window. I'm glad we had a good practice (Friday)."
The Eagles (29-8) were led by Kara Kentner (seven kills, 11 assists), Jenny Buczek (six kills, 10 digs), Megan Opferman (six kills), Kendra Mikuta (24 digs) and Paige Bendell (nine assists).
Jill Conrad had 14 assists, 12 digs and five kills, Morgan Thomas 24 digs and Katie Merigold 13 digs for Stagg (19-18).
Sandburg is to meet No. 2 Mother McAuley on Tuesday a Shepard Sectional semifinal.
The Eagles got there by overcoming what was at times was a study in hitting frustration against Stagg.
"They played terrific defense," Vales said of the Chargers. "You can't even match that kind of defense. At least we can't at practice. We had to just keep hammering and keep hammering. Luckily, we were able to pull it out."
Hold on was more like it.
The Eagles started both games strong, racing to a 7-1 advantage in the first and to a 13-5 lead in the second. In both cases, Stagg tenaciously fought back.
In Game 1, Donata Taskunaite had a pair of kills during a run that got the Chargers to within 9-8. She also had a kill and a block that led to a Game 2 rush in which the Chargers got as close as 19-16.
But it was the Chargers' willingness to dive to the floor and bring up what looked to be sure kills that made Sandburg work up the most sweat.
"They did well. Their defense never stopped," said Opferman, one of five Eagles to register at least one kill. "We're just trying to take it step by step, push our hardest. We had a lot of chemistry today, which we've been struggling with all season. I really think we came together today."