Girls Volleyball: Marist downed by St Charles East for thirdSt. Charles East's Sarah Dugan makes a dig against Marist during their class 4A state finals consolation match at Redbird Arena in Normal, IL Saturday, November 12, 2011. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
NORMAL — St. Charles East and Marist most definitely didn’t go through the motions in Saturday’s Class 4A third-place match at Redbird Arena.
The biggest lead either enjoyed all night was four points. There were 26 ties, 16 in Game 3.
There also was a lot of satisfaction on both sides after St. Charles East prevailed 25-23, 22-25, 25-21.
“To come out with a win like that, against a great team like that, feels great,” said St. Charles East senior Meghan Niski, whose 15 kills paced both teams.
Other leaders for the Fighting Saints (35-7) were Erienne Barry (32 assists), Maisey Mulvey (20 digs) and Nicole Lambert (7 kills).
Mallory Salis had 14 kills, Kelly Marcinek 12 kills, Ashley Holder 36 assists and Abbi Anderson 21 digs for Marist (30-7).
The RedHawks played without starting libero Carolyn Yerkes, who injured her left hand during Friday night’s semifinal match against Cary-Grove. Anderson stepped in and was a defensive stalwart for Marist, which rallied from a loss in Game 1 and a 21-19 deficit in Game 2 to force the match to its limit.
“In that situation, that’s what we’re best at, coming off of a first-game loss,” Salis said. “We really push each other to do our best. We wanted that second game.”
St. Charles East was able to break a seemingly endless series of ties in Game 3 when with Nicole Woods serving tough at the line, a block by Niski broke a 17-17 deadlock and began a 4-0 outburst that put Marist in a hole from which it wouldn’t escape.
“They really did a great job of serving,” Marist coach Natalie Holder said of St. Charles East. “The short serve took us out a couple of rotations, and then they got a couple of points in a row on the deep serve.
“They don’t make a lot of errors overall, but I think their serving was very smart and on point. And their libero (Mulvey) is a nice little weapon.”
Despite two losses, RedHawks junior Rachel Dalton didn’t leave Redbird Arena with an empty feeling.
“We got a lot of experience,” she said. “Just the atmosphere of this entire thing really makes me mentally prepared for next year and to be able to come down here again and hopefully get farther.”