Marist’s win clinches ESCC shareMarist's Ashley Holder (12) and Kirsten Ivkovic (10) block a spike from Joliet Catholic Academy's Morgan Reardon (3) at Tuesday night's game between Joliet Catholic Academy and Marist. | Paul James Bergstrom~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 18, 2011 9:04PM
Marist will jump on a jet in a few days and fly to Phoenix, Ariz., for a two-day tournament in the hot, dry desert. Joliet Catholic will return to the gym in chilly, wet Joliet and try to figure out how it got burned so badly Tuesday.
Kirsten Ivkovic had 10 kills, Mallory Salis added nine kills and a block and Ashley Holder dealt out 26 assists as No. 2 Marist clinched at least a share of the East Suburban Catholic Conference title with a 25-19, 25-22 victory Tuesday in Joliet.
Marist (25-5, 8-1) built a 19-12 lead in Game 1 and an 18-10 advantage on Game 2 and was only seriously challenged late in the second set when the Angels used a 10-3 run to close within a point at 22-21.
But Salis slammed her ninth kill of the match in front of a diving Jill Hickey, and followed that with a rocket down the middle to give Marist a 24-23 advantage.
That left it up to Ivkovic, whose kill off the block at match point sent the RedHawks off to the desert almost as hot as a Phoenix driveway in July.
“I think winning conference gives us more motivation,” said Ivkovic, one of only two seniors who see the floor for Marist. “I think it brings our team together more. The more games we play, the better, so it’s good. It definitely was one of my better matches kill-wise.”
Ivkovic and Salis both had to take a back seat in Game 1 to 5-foot-10 junior Kelly Marcinek, who torched the Angels for six of her eight kills in the opener.
“The Providence game (a loss in New Lenox on Oct. 4) was a learning experience,” Marcinek said. “It was the best thing that happened to us. Now we can move forward and know we did this tonight. Our boys play them (in football) on Friday and so we started it off.”
Joliet Catholic coach Chris Scheibe can only hope that the football team blocks better than her Angels did Tuesday.
“One of the things we had talked about after the last time we played them was our block was nonexistent in the first match,” she said. “So all we worked on in practice the past few days was blocking, blocking, blocking. And once again, our block was kind of nonexistent.
“Unless we put pressure on them with our hitting, we couldn’t get a block on them when they hit,” Scheibe added. “When we were hitting, we were fine. But when we’re tipping and rolling and giving them the opportunity, it just wasn’t going to happen.”
Six-foot senior middle Haley Pennington led No. 4 Joliet Catholic (29-6, 7-2) with seven kills and Kelly Feigh returned to the lineup after sitting out last week with back spasms and had six kills. Gianna Lincoln and Morgan Reardon each had four kills.
“I love the fact that the girls showed some fight in Game 2,” Scheibe said. “They didn’t roll over and die, and they came back and made a match of it. That’s what you want to see at this point of the season, showing some heart and showing some fight and that’s what they did.”