Girls Volleyball: St Francis notches 30th win for 27th straight season

Updated: October 17, 2012 8:44PM

Getting 30 wins in a season is a pretty good accomplishment for a volleyball team.

Doing it 27 years in a row is downright impressive.

St. Francis reached the 30-win plateau for the 27th consecutive season Wednesday, beating visiting Chicago Christian 25-11, 25-16 in both teams’ Suburban Christian Conference finale.

McKenna Kelsay led the Spartans (30-5, 12-0) with 17 assists and three kills, Michelle McLaughlin added seven kills and Maddie and Molly Haggerty had four kills apiece.

“There’s pressure, but it’s not like we’re always thinking ‘30 wins, 30 wins,’ ’’ Kelsay said. ‘But winning is never easy. You have to work hard. I think we are definitely picking it up the last couple of matches. Next week is regional. It’s a good time to pick it up.”

The Spartans used a 13-1 run midway through Game 1 to erase a 9-5 deficit. In Game 2, St. Francis led from start to finish as McLaughlin and the Haggerty sisters contributed four kills each.

“It was a good night,” St. Francis coach Peg Kopec said. “Everybody got a chance to play. I’m happy for the team and for the seniors. We’re healthy for the first time in a while and we’re rested. I thought we were really tired in September after playing four tournaments in five weeks.

“The other week, we were running our seventh and eighth grade tournament,” she added.

Maddie Haggerty played for the first time since she was diagnosed with a concussion and missed two weeks, while McLaughlin is recovered from an allergic reaction that sent her to the hospital a few weeks ago.

“Hopefully, everybody is healthy,” Kopec said.

On the other side of the net, Emily Workman had nine assists, two kills and an ace, and Emily Lindemulder and Leah Kamp had three kills apiece for Chicago Christian (20-15, 6-6).

“They have some tough servers, but I thought we serve-received well in the first set,” Chicago Christian coach James Garcia said. “We just didn’t execute. I think in their minds the girls had a little bit of fear about their big hitters and were trying to overcompensate. We weren’t disciplined on defense.”

The Knights, who have brought state trophies home in 2007 (fourth), 2009 (second), 2010 (first) and 2011 (second) in Class 2A, find themselves in the Class 3A tournament beginning next week with the likes of St. Francis and Joliet Catholic thanks to the IHSA’s new classification system.

Chicago Christian will play either Thornridge or Ellison in its regional opener Tuesday at Hillcrest as part of the Rich East Sectional. Chicago Christian is the top seed at Rich East. The sectional winner likely draws either St. Francis or Joliet Catholic in the supersectional at Chicago Christian.

“It’s a whole new season,” Garcia said. “One of the girls came up to me after the match and asked if we could work on defense tomorrow at practice. They understand what we need to do.”

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