Lady Spartans lock up SSC Red title
In a showdown last Tuesday night between the two best teams in the South Suburban Conference Red, Oak Lawn and Shepard engaged in a back-and-fourth battle that could be described by many different adjectives.
In the end, the Lady Spartans emerged victorious by a 25-20, 14-25, 29-27 count over the Lady Astros, thereby separating themselves from Shepard atop the division. Oak Lawn officially sealed the conference title two nights later with a win over Evergreen Park.
Becky Bradshaw (11 kills, nine digs), Simona Tomczak (eight kills, nine digs), Jamie Fionda (seven kills), Tara Hill (seven digs) and Bree Markusic (four kills) paced the Lady Spartans, who overcame four Lady Astros match points to prevail on Tuesday.
“I think Shepard is a team that you always have to prepare for,” Oak Lawn coach Dennis McNamara said. “I really felt like the girls were ready to go and had some idea about what they wanted to do.”
McNamara said he adjusted his starting lineup early in the match due to some girls who visited colleges on Monday. The results exceeded expectations.
“Instead, I went with some younger girls in the first couple of games [and] they did a very nice job,” McNamara said. “They went out and made plays. It was good to see.”
In the end, however, it was McNamara’s acknowledged leaders who rose to the occasion by taking the Lady Astros’ best shots and coming out successfully. The Lady Spartans fought back from a 21-17 deficit in the third game.
“My top players really stepped up,” McNamara said. “I shot Becky a text [message] after the match and told her that she really played an excellent match. She and Simona really carried the load on the outside, and they really went out and played well for us to get that win.”
Briana Haugh (16 kills), Abby Graham (nine kills, 14 digs), Kendall Yerkes (eight kills, 11 digs), Caroline Graham (34 assists) and Brianna Volpentesta (20 digs, 11 service points) were the key performers for Shepard.
The Lady Spartans racked up their second win of the week on Thursday and clinched the SSC Red championship in the process by defeating Evergreen 25-21, 25-18.
Bradshaw recorded eight kills and six digs to steer visiting Oak Lawn (18-5, 11-1). Tomczak further aided the Lady Spartans’ cause with 10 digs, four kills and four aces.
The Lady Mustangs’ headliners were Maddie Vojacek, who totaled four kills and three blocks, and Nicole Larkin, who registered four blocks.
The Lady Astros rebounded from their loss to Oak Lawn to upend Argo 25-15, 23-25, 25-12 in another SSC Red clash. Yerkes led the way for Shepard (16-8, 9-3) with eight kills and three aces.
Like Shepard, the Lady Mustangs (10-17) fared better when their opponent didn’t hail from Oak Lawn.
Evergreen beat Rich South 18-25, 25-19, 27-25 this past Monday behind big days from Emma Przeslicke (nine kills), Sarah Klawtitter (13 digs) and Larkin (four kills, four blocks).
Capturing the championship of Glenbard West’s Autmnfest Tournament culminated a perfect week for the Mighty Macs, who racked up a total of seven wins.
Mother McAuley (32-2) collected three of its victories on Saturday, as it stormed past Loyola Academy (25-17, 25-12), outlasted Waubonsie Valley (25-18, 16-25, 25-13) and then rolled over the host school (25-10, 25-13) in the tourney finale. A total of 24 schools participated in the two-day event.
Tournament MVP honors went to Western Illinois recruit Courtney Joyce, who had 23 assists, three kills and six digs for the Macs in the title match. Also pitching in to that triumph were Kayla Caffey (seven kills, one block), Ryann DeJarld (six kills, six digs, three aces) and Kelsey Clark (five kills, one block).
McAuley’s active week got underway with a 25-10, 25-11 Girls Catholic Athletic Conference win over visiting Queen of Peace on Tuesday. Joyce dished out 21 assists and Maddie Meyer produced 11 kills and 12 digs in the Volley for the Cure match.
Trinity offered the Macs little resistance on Wednesday, as it succumbed 25-6, 25-11. Joyce (15 assists) and Clark (nine kills) were the spark plugs for McAuley, which won for the seventh straight time in GCAC Red play.
Also going 7-0 last week were the Lady Eagles, whose tournament title was claimed Saturday at the Maine West Pumpkin Invitational.
Sandburg upended Oak Park-River Forest 25-23, 25-12 in the championship match. Sami Knight (72 assists in three Saturday matches) and Leah Lane (21 kills) played starring roles for the Lady Eagles.
Prior to its arrival at Maine West, Sandburg (26-7, 5-0) took down a pair of SouthWest Suburban Conference Blue foes.
Knight (29 assists), Julia Borschel (nine kills) and Kelly McGovern (17 digs) were the Lady Eagles’ ringleaders last Tuesday as Sandburg defeated Lockport 25-18, 25-22. Stepping forward the next day in a 25-7, 25-23 conquest of Joliet West were Meghan Hutchinson (five kills) and Katie Makina (four kills, 20 assists).
The Lady Chargers (12-16, 1-4) started last week off with a three-set SWSC Blue loss to Joliet Central (28-26, 19-25, 25-14) on Tuesday, bounced back with a three-set win over Bolingbrook (25-19, 21-25, 25-20) in another conference clash on Wednesday and then reached the Bronze Division title match at Saturday’s Knights Invitational before falling short of TF South (23-25, 25-22, 25-19).
Gianna Petrelli was Stagg’s headliner versus the Steelwomen as she contributed 10 service points and 10 assists, while Lexi Mantas (14 kills, eight digs), Hannah Yandel (18 assists) and Hannah Henderson (11 digs) all played pivotal roles for the Lady Chargers versus the Lady Raiders.
The Lady RedHawks improved to 20-7 overall and 7-0 in the East Suburban Catholic Conference with a 25-20, 25-14 victory over Joliet Catholic Academy last Tuesday.
Molly Mayo’s 21 assists and seven digs powered visiting Marist. Anne Marie Stifter added eight kills for the Lady RedHawks, while Colleen Reilly chipped in five kills and two blocks.
The Screeching Eagles squared their season ledger at 17-17 with a 25-19, 25-16 victory over Chicago Agricultural Science last Thursday. MaryKate Wetzel contributed 14 assists and Kelly Magliano put down six kills to spur the visitors.
Season leaders for Mt. Assisi include Wetzel (545 assists), Magliano (278 kills, 58 blocks), Anna Broadhurst (155 kills, 39 blocks, 202 digs) and Jessica Jakubowski (230 digs).
Shannon Gardner’s five kills and three blocks helped the Lady Bulldogs (19-7, 9-3 SSC Red) bag a 25-15, 25-7 conference triumph over Eisenhower last Thursday.
The Lady Knights (24-9) enjoyed a four-win week and claimed each of those victories in straight sets. Defeated were Aurora Central Catholic, Oak Lawn, TF North and Plainfield Central.
Chicago Christian lost to Lincoln-Way Central.