Huntley three-peats at own tournamentHuntley's Samantha Boesch hits into Winnebago's Amy Cross (11) and Brittney Langley on Saturday at Huntley. | Andrew A. Nelles~For Sun-Times Media
When it ended Saturday and Sam Boesch had put down her 21st kill of the match, she and Huntley teammates serenaded coach Michelle Jakubowski with “Happy Birthday to You.”
The Red Raiders’ third straight championship in their own 16-team invitational was a gift enough for their coach in the 27th annual Huntley Invite, one day before her birthday — especially because it came over a team as talented as Marian Central. The Red Raiders beat Marian Central 25-20, 24-26, 25-17, then could look ahead to a week when they could win at least a share of the Valley Division of the Fox Valley Conference with a big rematch against Cary-Grove.
“This is a big week, a long, tough week,” Jakubowski said.
With Boesch making good on her 21 kills, setter Eli Manning making 33 assists, and Jaina Jackson (9 total kills) coming up with two kills at exactly the right moment in Game 3, the Red Raiders had enough to put away the Hurricanes for the second straight year in the tourney finals.
It was defense, however, where Huntley probably separated itself from Marian Central in a battle between teams with plenty of hitting. Boesch made 27 digs, Aryano Burgos 13 and Amy Dion 19 as the Red Raiders displayed no fear of floor burn.
“Whenever our defense is on, we’ve always been on — defense is our key,” said Manning.
Huntley led just 14-13 before going off on a 9-2 run in a final set that featured three runs. Huntley had gotten off to a 9-2 lead, then Marian went on an 8-1 run.
With momentum starting to swing again, Jackson put down two kills in the middle for some separation at 20-14, and Boesch put the final touches on with a block kill and two spikes for kills for the last three Red Raider points. Huntley (22-4) beat surprising Winnebago in the semifinals and went 5-0 in the tourney.
Huntley looks even stronger now with Ashley Smith back from a shoulder injury. She had seven kills against Marian Central.
“We have a lot of options,” Jakubowski said. “So it’s nice to know if Sam is tired, Jaina can get kills, Ashley can get kills, our right side is going to get us kills and Eli is doing a great job distributing the ball.”
Jacobs placed fourth in the tournament, while St. Edward was eighth.
The Golden Eagles (21-10) finished 3-2 and played a tight first semifinal set with Marian Central before losing 25-23, 25-17 a week after losing to the Hurricanes in the Hampshire Invite finals.
“We really played hard (Friday) night against St. Ignatius and they seemed like they were a little tired today,” Jacobs coach Lisa Dwyer said of a 16-25, 25-15, 25-18 win that put Jacobs in the platinum division with a chance to win the title. Especially in that St. Ignatius match I thought we just kind of clicked it all together. I think that one took a lot out of us.”
Winnebago beat Jacobs 25-20, 25-21 in the third-place match, as Alyssa Ehrhardt produced 12 kills, Maris Smith seven and Nikki Madoch six.
St. Edward (16-11) went 2-3 in the tourney and lost senior setter Katie Ayello to a hand injury of unknown severity against Machesney Park Harlem in a 25-21, 23-25, 26-24 defeat. Sophomore Mallory Gross replaced her.
“At one point I looked out there and we had five sophomores and a junior on the floor,” coach Jaime Dovichi said.
The Green Wave used the tourney to take a look at Sarah Norman moving from outside hitter to middle and Callie Johnson moving from middle to outside.
Katie Swanson (46 kills, 27 digs), Norman (25 kills, 6 aces, 48 digs, 5 blocks) and Johnson (27 kills, 5 blocks, 5 aces) led the Wave at the net and serving line. Ayello had 87 assists.
Streamwood finished 1-4, including a 25-20, 19-25, 25-18 victory over Belvidere in pool play.