Girls Volleyball: Mother McAuley downs Stagg in 3A sectional final

Story Image Mother McAuley's Courtney Joyce (8) and Kelly Clarke (11) attempt to make a block against Stagg's Ari Mantas (26) for the Lincoln Way Sectional final at Lincoln Way Central High School in New Lenox, Illinois, Thursday, Nov. 01, 2012. | Michael DiNovo~For Sun-Times Media
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Updated: November 1, 2012 10:12PM

Tuesday night in the Class 4A Lincoln-Way Central Sectional semifinals, No. 1 Mother McAuley was only a couple of points away from having the breath taken away from its season by Sandburg.

Thursday, the Mighty Macs huffed and puffed and pretty much blew Stagg down in a 25-16, 25-19 victory that catapults McAuley to a supersectional for the first time since 2009.

The Mighty Macs (34-4) will host Saturday’s supersectional, and are to face Hinsdale Central, which upset Hinsdale South in a sectional final, 15-25, 25-21, 25-18.

Courtney Joyce led the way for the Mighty Macs with 23 assists, seven kills, seven digs and two blocks. Maggie Scanlon had six kills and two blocks, while Ryann DeJarld chipped in nine digs and four kills, Kelsey Clark three blocks and three digs and Michelle Konecki seven digs.

For No. 3 Stagg (32-7), Jill Conrad had seven kills and five assists, Lexi Mantas and Ali Conrad notched six kills each, Morgan Thomas had 18 digs and Alexa Janus finished with seven assists.

There was no need for an escape act this time for the Might Macs. They trailed just once, at 1-0 in Set 2. There were two other ties, at 13-all and 14-all, also in Set 2.

“We were so pumped. I don’t know any other words to describe it,” Ryann DeJarld said. “We came out like, ‘We don’t care who we’re playing. We’re just going to do this.’ ”

A 5-0 run to start the first set pretty much set a tone in both the scoring pattern and the technique.

McAuley had its share of big hits, but the Mighty Macs also employed their soft game with much success. Kelly Clarke and DeJarld went back-to-back with tips during the first run, while Joyce often went to the well with misdirection dumps and came up with kills.

“It was working, and you’ve got to stick with what’s working,” Joyce said. “We did whatever we could to put the ball away.”

For Stagg, it was an uphill climb all match.

The Chargers had their moments, one of which was a stunning dig by Janus on a straight-down hit by McAuley’s Clark. But offensively they could not develop a real rhythm. Only once during the match did they put together as many as three points in succession.

Several sets of two allowed them to lurk within a handful of points it was still close at 15-13 in Set 1 when the Mighty Macs landed a 4-0 punch that featured a quick-set kill by Clark, an ace by DeJarld and a block for kill by Scanlon.

Set 2 saw the Chargers battle back from a 10-5 deficit to get back into a tie. But again, the Mighty Macs responded with a flurry of counterattacks, from a tip for kill by DeJarld, to a rocket to the back line by Clark, to one of Joyce’s dump-kills, to a team block at the net by Clark and Scanlon.

That all happened during a 5-1 run from which Stagg could not respond.

“Unfortunately, when you play McAuley you try to tell the girls, ‘It’s just a name.’ But with them it’s not just a name,” Stagg coach Deanna Storino said. “They always have a good program with strong girls. And Jen (DeJarld) is a great coach. It’s hard to overcome that.

“Unfortunately, what (everyone) saw tonight was not how we played all season. This was a really tough group of girls who gave everything they had this season. If you base it on tonight, it’s not giving justice to their whole season. A 32-7 record is an amazing finish for them.”

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