So when was the last time Mother McAuley began a season 3-3?
Mother McAuley's 26-24, 25-17 loss to St. Francis on September 17 left the Macs at 3-3 with a three consecutive losses to Sandburg, Marist and the Spartans. A short two seasons ago, the Macs started the season 2-3 with losses to Downers Grove South, Sandburg and Marist.
That year, Mother McAuley, led by Melissa Joyce and juniors Kelly Griffin and Catherine Wildner, bounced back to win 32 of its next 36 matches, advancing to the state championship game before falling to Naperville Central.
McAuley coach Jen DeJarld believes this team can achieve similar success.
"I'm really proud of the way the girls played against a high caliber team," she said after the loss to St. Francis. "They have some college-level hitters. We have some youth and inexperience."
Seniors Paulna Sambor and Jessica Galotta are McAley's only players with significant experience.
"But I'm really excited about where we're at right now," DeJarld said."I'm in a comfort zone with this group. We'll just build and grow from here."
DeJarld has reason to be excited about her young players. Sophomore setter Ryan Arundel had eight assists, four kills, a block and an ace against St. Francis. Junior Mary Kate Styler had a team-high five kills.
Junior middle Maddie McElroy played well off the bench. Junior setter Kailey Scott had three assists when McAuley went to a 6-2. And senior outside Jessica Falk is coming off a season where she spent most of the year on the bench because of injury.
"We flip in and out between a 6-2 and a 5-1," DeJarld said. "But we try not to do too many sophisticated things because we're young."