Girls Volleyball: Marian Catholic rolls past Queen of PeaceNatalie Doogan, of Queen of Peace, keeps an eye on the ball after a dig against Marian Catholic at Marian Catholic, Monday, October 15th, 2012 in Chicago Heights, IL. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 15, 2012 7:44PM
Marian Catholic was barely a .500 team going into the 2011 state playoffs.
That will not be the case in 2012.
The Spartans improved their record to 27-7 Monday with a 25-14, 25-18 victory over visiting Queen of Peace.
Last year’s team was the playoff surprise of Class 3A. Few, if anybody outside of the Marian Catholic community predicted a trip to the state finals.
That won’t change in 2012 with the Spartans moving up to Class 4A, insists senior Colleen Rynne.
“I think people will think we’re still the underdogs and we’re not ready for 4A,” Rynne said with a smile. “But I can tell you that we’ve got a lot of surprises up our sleeves.”
Amber Clay led the way with nine kills, two blocks and three aces on Monday. Kendyl Todd added six kills and two blocks, Taylor Byas, Nicole Manno and Jessican Brzozowski-Fryzel four digs each, and Rynne 15 assists.
Queen of Peace (2-27) was paced by Missy Quero (seven kills, two blocks), Becka Huerta (eight digs) and Kathleen Miller (11 assists).
That the Spartans were to play Joliet Catholic for one of the top spots in the East Suburban Catholic Conference on Tuesday is not a surprise to Clay.
“I feel like this year we’re a lot closer as a team,” Clay said. “We mesh better. This is our third year playing together for the most part, and there wasn’t as much drama. And we all had the same goal from the beginning - to do it again.
“To be able to do that and bring that to the gym was a big change.”
Queen of Peace, under first-year coach Megan Jones, looked at more than a few times much better than a team with just two victories.
“We have seen a lot of big moves defensively,” Jones said. “That’s kind of been a focus of ours this year. Our middles have been really starting to get it together in the last couple of matches.
“Today, there were just too many unforced errors. At the end of the day it’s the team with the least unforced errors that wins. Today, that was Marian [Catholic].”