By Pat Brozynski

October 2012 Archives

St. Ignatius, which won the GCAC Red Division title for the first time at the last tournament the league will sponsor, hopes to continue its winning ways Tuesday against Hinsdale Central at the Riverside-Brookfield sectional.

Chicago Sun-Times 2012 Top 10 Girls Volleyball Teams
(Last week's ranking in parenthesis)

1. Benet 35-2 (1)

Benet coach Brad Baker probably did not sleep all weekend trying to figure out how his team is going to slow down West Aurora and Lauren Carlini in Tuesday's sectional semifinal at Neuqua Valley. The Redwings may want to try to get off to a better start than they did Thursday in a 25-18, 25-20 victory over Naperville Central. The Redwings fell behind 12-5 in Game One before using a 12-2 run to reverse the tide for keeps. Benet and West Aurora met earlier this season in the championship of the Benet invite with the Redwings hanging on for 28-26, 25-23 win.

2. Mother McAuley 33-4 (2)

The Mighty Macs bounced back from last week's loss to St. Ignatius in the finals of the final GCAC tournament to defeat T.F. North 25-9, 25-7 and Homewood-Flossmoor 25-13, 25-10 to win the Class 4A regional at Homewood-Flossmoor. Ryann DeJarld powered McAuley with 10 kills and Courtney Joyce dished out 23 assists. Next up? Sandburg in the 6:00 p.m. sectional semifinal Tuesday at Lincoln-Way Central. The last time these teams met, DeJarld lit up Sandburg for 12 kills in a 25-18, 25-16 victory at the Rich East tournament. The winner gets either Stagg or Lincoln-Way Central in the sectional final Thursday.

3. Marist 31-6 (3)

An unbeaten season in arguably the state's toughest conference. The championship of the 64-team NIKE Tournament of Champions in Phoenix, Ariz. Then... "One match does not dictate our entire season," Marist coach Natalie Holder said after her team's stunning 25-19, 23-25, 25-21 loss to No. 7 seed Lincoln-Way Central in the championship of the Class 4A regional at Lincoln-Way North. "No one, except maybe Assumption from Kentucky, played a schedule as ridiculously challenging as ours and with our success rate. Lincoln-Way Central played exemplary, scrappy volleyball." Marist will have some work to do next year. Libero Carolyn Yerkes is the only regular who returns.

4. Joliet Catholic 31-6 (4)

Providence extended Joliet Catholic in their regional final, but ultimately Morgan Reardon was just too much for the Celtics. The Loyola-bound senior ripped 17 kills to lead the Angels to a 25-19, 24-26, 25-16 victory and a berth in the Class 3A sectional at Glenbard South, where everyone anticipate a championship match between the Angels and long-time nemesis St. Francis. Reardon got help from Mallory Mangun (33 assists) and Julia Shemaitis (eight kills). Before reaching the finals, however, Joliet Catholic must turn back Nazareth Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. The Angels handled the Roadrunners easily in their first meeting, 25-13, 25-16, back on September 27.

5. New Trier 36-1 (5)

The Trevians 25-5, 25-3 win over (Chicago) Prosser in a regional semifinal was a stunner. How did Prosser score eight points? Maine South at least put up a fight in the regional finals, extending New Trier in a 25-14, 25-21 loss. It doesn't get too much harder in Tuesday's sectional semifinal at Niles North, although New Trier's opponent does have some familiarity with the floor. The Trevians then wrap up the week with a rematch against Mikayla Leyden, Jacque Kibir-Evans, Ashley Klauss and Trinity in Thursday's sectional finals and possibly Glenbard West in the supersectional Saturday at Niles West.

6. West Aurora 32-5 (6)

There was a brief time Thursday that the IHSA website had West Aurora losing the regional final at Waubonsie Valley. "I want confirmation," a disbelieving Benet coach Brad Baker said. Lauren Carlini and the Blackhawks did advance to face Benet at 6:00 p.m. Tuesday at Neuqua Valley, downing Waubonsie Valley 25-18, 25-17 behind seven kills, 14 assists and six digs from Carlini, eight kills by Peyton McKenzie and four kills from Kaitlyn Richter. Carlini had nine kills, five blocks and seven digs and West Aurora fought off five set points in Game One the first time these teams hooked up.

7. St. Francis 32-5 (7)

The Spartans moved another step closer to their annual (at least for the past 10 or so years) tournament meeting with Joliet Catholic by dispatching Mt. Assisi 25-6, 25-20 and Glenbard South 25-18, 25-21 in the Class 3A regional at Illinois Math and Science Academy. But first, St. Francis must get past the Lady Tigers from Herscher. Senior outside hitter Loryn Bruer led Herscher to a 25-19, 25-17 victory over Manteno in the Class 3A regional at Reed-Custer after the Tigers escaped Peotone 26-24, 25-22 in the regional semifinal.

8. Glenbard West 35-2 (8)

Twenty-seven years? That's how long it has been between regional titles for Glenbard West, which finally got its first state hardware since 1985 by defeating West Chicago 25-15, 25-10 on the Hilltoppers' home court. Next up for Caleigh Ryan, Amanda Perry, Meg DeMarr and Co.? St. Charles North (23-12), which got 11 kills from junior Taylor Krage and seven kills from Daley Krage to beat Glenbard North 25-22, 25-19 on the North Stars' home floor. The winner gets either Geneva or St. Charles East in the sectional finals at Elgin Larkin.

9. Libertyville 30-6 (9)

The Wildcats survived a monster 27-kill effort from 6-foot-1 middle blocker Layne Self to defeat Lake Zurich 21-25, 25-23, 25-23 in the finals of the Class 4A regional hosted by the Bears. Taylor Zant led the Wildcats with 10 kills, Rhiannon Prentiss had six kills and 14 digs, Alex Basler added four kills, Cindy Zhou had 24 assists, four kills and 14 digs, and Kristen Webb was credited with 36 digs and 4 assists. The victory avenged a season-ending loss to Lake Zurich in last year's regional finale. Next up? Mid-Suburban League champion Hersey at the Fremd sectional Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.

10. Sandburg 29-8 (10)

The Eagles continue their late-season surge, winning their 15th straight match 25-9, 25-17 over Lincoln-Way East in the finals of the Class 4A regional at Eisenhower. Paige Bendell led the way with 11 assists, eight kills and six digs, Dakota Hampton added six kills and five digs, and sophomore setter Sami Knight added 11 assists and 10 digs. But the task gets infinitely tougher Tuesday when Sandburg takes on No. 2-ranked and sectional top seed Mother McAuley in the 6:00 p.m. sectional semifinal at Lincoln-Way Central. Awaiting the winner will be either Lincoln-Way Central or Stagg.

Others: Stevenson 34-3, Lincoln-Way Central 29-8, Naperville Central 28-9, Hinsdale South 30-7, Stagg 30-7, Marian Catholic 28-9, Naperville North 27-9, Prairie Ridge 26-9, St. Ignatius 28-9, Crystal Lake South 26-10, Providence 25-12, Hersey 32-5, Palatine 26-11, Richmond-Burton 28-1, Trinity 26-8, Nazareth 24-13, Chicago Christian 22-15, Lemont 25-12, St Charles East 25-12, Plainfield North 27-8, Oak Lawn 25-7.

Quote of the Year: "Where is the IHSA tonight? Why don't they go talk to the Naperville Central kids and explain to them how this is fair?" - Benet coach Brad Baker, moments after the Redwings defeated the Redhawks 25-18, 25-20 for the Class 4A regional title at Naperville Central. The Neuqua Valley sectional, of which the Central regional was a part, was realigned into four imbalanced regionals because of the inclusion of one school, Yorkville, which the IHSA insisted was geographically located "outside the Chicago box." Yorkville, by the way, did not win a single state tournament game, losing a feed-in quarterfinal to Oswego.

Did you know? Plainfield North (27-8) lost to both Naperville North (25-20, 21-25, 25-18) and Naperville Central (25-16, 25-20) during the regular season. But the Tigers were able to win their own regional (beating Oswego and Oswego East) and advance to the Neuqua Valley sectional because the IHSA realigned the sectional into four imbalanced regionals, forcing Naperville Central and Naperville North to meet in a regional semifinal at Central. Central was then eliminated by Benet. North also beat Lemont (25-12) at the Wheaton Classic (25-19, 25-16), but the Indians advanced to Neuqua by beating Plainfield Central and Lockport at Romeoville.

News flash: Bridgeport Red Hill snapped a losing streak that had grown to 203 matches October 6 by beating the host Hutsonville Tigers, 20-25, 25-19, 15-8 in the fifth-place match of the Hutsonville invitational. It was Red Hill's first win since Oct. 7, 2002 - a stretch of nine years, 364 days - when it earned a 7-15, 15-11, 15-12 victory at Grayville. Entering the season, the Salukis had not even won a set since Oct. 4, 2004.

The Quote II: "Can you imagine anything like this happening in football or basketball? It's just another example of the IHSA with different standards." - Benet coach Brad Baker talking about non-certified officials being used as line judges in a regional final.

The Quote III: "The kids work so hard to get to this point. We as coaches have been around for a while and we have been there before, but these kids work so hard and they just continue to get better as the season goes on. That they have to play them in a regional final, a second round of the playoffs, to me it's just not fair to the athletes." - Naperville Central coach Brie Isaacson, whose team was denied a chance to be the top seed at its own regional by the IHSA.

I'll have what she's having: "We are hot right now and peaking at the right time." - Lincoln-Way Central coach Kathy Sulkowski, whose team got 12 kills from junior outside hitter Maria Brown, eight kills and 10 blocks from 6-foot-3 senior Amanda Dolan and 17 digs from senior libero Morgan Commet to defeat Marist 25-19, 23-25, 25-21 in the championship of the Class 4A regional Thursday at Lincoln-Way North.

The IHSA tournament begins, common sense ends

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benet at autumn.jpg

Does Benet have one more title in its future?

Chicago Sun-Times 2012 Top 10 Girls Volleyball Teams
(Last week's ranking in parenthesis)

1. Benet 33-2 (1)

Benet wrapped up the regular season with a 26-24, 25-21 victory over Providence Thursday. Cara Mattaliano and Brittany Pavich each had six kills. Nicki Barnes and Rachael Fara added four apiece. Hannah Kaminsky had 22 assists. Earlier in the week, Benet beat St. Viator 25-17, 25-5 behind Mattaliano's 12 kills and Kaminsky's 21 assists and three aces. Now the real fun begins for Benet, which faces a treacherous route to state that includes a probable regional championship match with homestanding Naperville Central and a sectional semifinal against Lauren Carlini and West Aurora (really, Yorkville is outside the "Chicagoland box?").

2. Mother McAuley 31-4 (2)

Michelle Konecki had 17 assists and nine digs for Mother McAuley, but it was not enough as the Mighty Macs fell to St. Ignatius 25-18, 15-25, 25-23 in the championship match of the GCAC Red tournament at Queen of Peace. Ryann DeJarld and Kennedy Arundel each had nine kills for the Mighty Macs. Carla Cahill had 21 digs. Earlier in the week, the Mighty Macs rallied from down a set to defeat Lyons 18-25, 25-13, 25-20. Meanwhile, Sandburg's late-season surge has made the teams' sectional semifinal match at Lincoln-Way Central very interesting. The Mighty Macs then would likely face Marist in the sectional finals, and if they survive that, enigmatic Hinsdale South in the supersectional at McAuley.

3. Marist 29-5 (3)

Mallory Salis had 12 kills and Taylor Holder added 13 assists and five digs as Marist took down Carmel 25-19, 25-21 in its East Suburban Catholic Conference finale Tuesday. The Redhawks closed out the regular season at the Nike Tournament of Champions in Arizona over the weekend, where they won the Platinum division by beating St. Joseph's Academy. Tuesday, they will likely face Bloom in the regional semifinal at Lincoln-Way North before meeting Lincoln-Way Central in the regional final on Thursday. The Knights have been up and down since reaching the Mizuno Cup finals, losing to Sandburg and Lockport while beating LW East and Champaign Centennial.

4. Joliet Catholic 29-6 (4)

At least the IHSA put Joliet Catholic and St. Francis in opposite halves of the bracket at the Glenbard South sectional. The Angels did get a bad draw with a likely meeting with Providence in the regional finals at Lincoln-Way West, but 3A newcomer Immaculate Conception does not figure to be an overwhelming impediment in the sectional semifinals before the Angels hook up with St. Francis. Joliet Catholic wrapped up the regular season with a 25-27, 25-12, 25-18 victory over Marian Catholic behind Morgan Reardon's 17 kills and 26 assists and eight digs from Mallory Mangun.

5. New Trier 34-1 (5)

Tuesday's easy 25-13, 25-14 Central Suburban League victory over Evanston and a 25-13, 25-9 road victory at Niles West on Thursday kept New Trier's perfect season alive heading into Saturday's regular season-ending tournament at Lyons, where the Trevians lost to the hosts in pool play. New Trier rebounded to beat Normal 25-12, 25-10 for fifth place. Meanwhile, looking ahead, the Trevians should only face token resistance in the state tournament until running into Trinity in the sectional finals at Niles North and possibly Glenbard West in the supersectional at Niles West.

6. West Aurora 30-5 (6)

Naperville North's 25-13, 14-25, 25-23 victory over Naperville Central knocked the Redhawks out of the DuPage Valley Conference title picture and allowed West Aurora, a 25-13, 25-14 victor over West Chicago and an easy 25-6, 25-18 win over Glenbard East on Thursday, to win the league title outright. A sectional title may not be as easy as the Blackhawks must first get past a decent Rosary club in the regional finals and either top-ranked Benet or old nemesis Naperville Central in the sectional semifinals to advance deeper in the state tournament.

7. St. Francis 30-5 (7)

The Spartans reached the 30-win plateau for the 27th consecutive season with Wednesday's 25-11, 25-16 victory over Chicago Christian. McKenna Kelsay had 17 assists and three kills and Michelle McLaughlin added seven kills for the Spartans. But the Spartans cannot count on receiving as much help as they did from the Knights (16 errors in Game One) when the state tournament begins. Earlier in the week, McLaughlin had six kills and Sarah Dubiel added nine digs as St. Francis downed Aurora Central Catholic 25-12, 25-15. The Spartans will probably see Aurora Central catholic again in its regional opener Tuesday at IMSA.

Caleigh Ryan (by Jon Langham).jpgPhoto (left) by Jon Langham.

8. Glenbard West 32-2 (10)

After dropping their first two matches of the season and finishing sixth at Glenbard East two weeks ago, the Hilltoppers celebrated their first outright West Suburban Conference title since 1984 and a perfect loop through the league with a victory over visiting Proviso East on Thursday. "I know my girls are resilient," Glenbard West coach Pete Mastandrea said. "They understand they still have a ceiling that they can attain." Glenbard West is the top seed at the Elgin Larkin sectional and would likely face St. Charles North in a sectional semifinal before meeting either Geneva or St. Charles East in the sectional finals.

9. Libertyville 29-6 (8)

Defensive specialist Vicki Liu ignited Libertyville from the service line to lead the Wildcats to a 25-18, 25-16 victory over Lakes and their second North Suburban Conference title in three years. Kristen Webb had 21 digs, Cindy Zhou had 13 assists, Taylor Zant and Julie Smagacz each had five kills and Alex Basler added three kills. The road ahead is fraught with peril, as the hosts could push Libertyville in the Lake Zurich regional with Hersey awaiting in a sectional semifinal at Fremd. Stevenson, which Libertyville edged for the NSC division title but which defeated the Wildcats in a tournament title match Saturday, is the top seed at the Fremd sectional.

10. Sandburg 27-8 (NR)

David Vales is a master of getting his team ready to play at the end of the season. Wednesday's 25-20, 25-22 victory over Lincoln-Way Central for the Southwest Suburban Blue title was the Eagles 13th win in a row. Dakota Hampton led the way with 10 kills and 11 digs. Paige Bendell added 20 digs, 11 assists and 10 kills and Sami Knight distributed 14 assists. Can Sandburg keep the momentum heading into the state tournament? Sandburg will likely face Lincoln-Way East for the Eisenhower regional title and Mother McAuley in the Lincoln-Way Central sectional semifinals.

Others: Stevenson, Lincoln-Way Central, Naperville Central, Marian Catholic, Hinsdale South, Stagg, Naperville North, Prairie Ridge, St. Ignatius, Crystal Lake South, Providence, Hersey, Palatine, Richmond-Burton, Lockport, Trinity, Nazareth, Fremd, Crystal Lake Central, Jacobs, Lincoln-Way East, Rosary, Immaculate Conception, Chicago Christian, Lemont, DeLaSalle, Glenbard South, Timothy Christian, St Charles East, Cary-Grove, Montini, Downers Grove North.

Dominating in the desert: Mallory Salis, who was recently named "Player of the Year" in the East Suburban Catholic Conference after leading Marist to a 9-0 league record, was named the MVP of the 64-team NIKE National Tournament of Champions in Phoenix, Ariz. last weekend. Marist went 5-0 at the tournament, defeating Valencia (Calif.) 25-19, 25-14; Desert Vista (Ariz.) 25-27, 25-23, 15-13; Bishop Gorman (Nev.) 25-18, 25-10; Basha (Ariz.) 25-16, 25-18; and St. Joseph Academy (Mo.) 25-19, 25-23 (championship). Joining Salis on the ESCC all-conference team were Rachel Dalton, Elyse Panick and Kelly Marcinek.

Fly like a (Golden) Eagle: Nicki Barnes, a 5-foot-10 senior outside hitter from Benet who plays club volleyball at 1st Alliance, has committed to play collegiately at Marquette University. "Marquette went to the top of my list the first time I visited," Barnes said. "It is the perfect fit for me academically, and I couldn't be more excited about the volleyball program. I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to be a Golden Eagle." Barnes was thrust into a starting role following the graduation of Jenna Jendryk (Dayton) and Meghan Haggerty (Nebraska) and the transfer of junior Maddie Haggerty (St. Francis). "Nicki is a high level athlete who has worked very hard and played volleyball for an extremely long time," Benet coach Brad Baker said. "Nicki has the ability to hit a variety of shots and has a high level of understanding of the game. Marquette is lucky to be getting Nicki as she is a wonderful person who will make a great teammate and help the Marquette program become better."

Good things come to those who wait: St. Ignatius became the Girls Catholic Athletic Conference Red Division champion for the first time in school history last weekend, defeating Mt. Assisi, Resurrection, avenging a loss to De La Salle and beating Trinity to give head coach Erik Eastman and assistant coach Patty Ryan their 200th win since taking the program over in 2005. In the championship on Sunday, the Wolfpack defeated No. 2-ranked Mother McAuley 25-17, 15-25, 25-23. This was the first time in school history St. Ignatius has ever beaten the Mighty Macs and ended McAuley's 13-year reign as Red champions. It is the first small or large division title for the Wolfpack since 1987. Sophia Dodd was named GCAC Player of the Year and received her fourth All-GCAC nod. Camille Evans, Casey Harris and Jana Brusek were also named All-GCAC.

There's changes at the top of the rankings...again

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Chicago Sun-Times 2012 Top 10 Girls Volleyball Teams
(Last week's ranking in parenthesis)

1. Benet 31-2 (3)

45-0. That's Benet's record in regular-season tournaments since losing to Joliet Catholic in the finals of the Mizuno Scholastic Cup tournament in 2010. Saturday at Glenbard East, the Redwings won their fourth tournament of 2012 with a 26-24, 25-16 victory over previously top-ranked Mother McAuley. Five-foot-10 senior outside hitter Nicki Barnes, who would have trouble walking into a strong wind, led the way with nine kills including the one that gave Benet set point at 25-24 in Game 1 after the Redwings trailed 20-17. But it was unheralded Abby Willett who finished the match with a kill in Game 2.

2. Mother McAuley 26-3 (1)

The Mighty Macs flashed both their potential and their youth in Saturday's final of Autumnfest against Benet. "I thought the girls a wonderful job in Game 1, we just couldn't get in synch in Game 2 and lost the momentum we had in Game 1," coach Jen DeJarld said. "I didn't think we made smart choices with where we were spreading the ball out to." Ryann DeJarld had four kills and an ace, Kelly Clark had three kills and a block and Kelsey Clark added three kills and two blocks in defeat. McAuley wraps up the regular season against Lyons on October 17 followed by its annual ceremonial crowning at the GCAC tournament.

3. Marist 23-5 (2)

Why No. 3? Marist has splitting a pair of matches with Benet and is 1-2 against McAuley. The RedHawks are likely to see McAuley one more time in the state tournament. Last week, Marist held off Joliet Catholic 29-27, 25-19 to improve to 8-0 in the East Suburban Catholic Conference behind Mallory Salis' 13 kills, Elyse Panick's eight kills and seven digs, and Carolyn Yerkes' eight digs. Tuesday, Marist hosts Carmel in its ESCC finale before closing out the regular season with a trip to Arizona for the Nike Tournament of Champions October 19-21.

4. Joliet Catholic 27-6 (4)

How do you explain the nightmare that was Game 2 of a 21-25, 25-5, 25-19 loss to Benet in the semifinals of Autumnfest? You don't. Nevertheless, Joliet Catholic coach Chris Scheibe found a bright side. "We didn't go to three games with them last time we played," she said. "We were much more competitive this time, and to take a team like Benet to three games, I'm happy with that." The Angels did bounce back to beat West Aurora 16-25, 25-19, 25-23 for third place. Earlier in the week, Morgan Reardon had 13 kills and Mallory Mangun had 23 assists in the loss to Marist.

5. New Trier 27-0 (6)

New Trier continues to run roughshod over the Central Suburban League with easy wins over Glenbrook South and Maine South last week. The Trevians host Evanston on Tuesday and travel to Niles West on Thursday before competing in the Lyons tournament next weekend. New Trier figures to have an easy road in the state tournament as well with only Trinity, a team they crushed 25-11, 25-21 earlier in the season, standing between them and berth in the Niles West supersectional.

6. West Aurora 28-5 (7)

The Blackhawks scored the last seven points of the match to beat Naperville Central 19-25, 25-23, 25-23 in the quarterfinals of Autumnfest, but dropped their last two matches to Mother McAuley (25-19, 25-17) and Joliet Catholic (16-25, 25-19, 25-23) on getaway day for the big Homecoming dance. "It's disappointing (the loss to JCA)," West Aurora standout Lauren Carlini said. "We were flat the last two games." The Blackhawks maintained a share of first place in the DuPage Valley Conference with a 12-25, 25-19, 25-12 win over Naperville North earlier in the week.

7. St. Francis 26-5 (8)

The Spartans are spending a lot of time in the practice gym getting ready for the state tournament while their regular-season schedule crawls to a close. Last week, St. Francis had just one match, a 25-20, 25-19 win over Marian Central. This week, the Spartans close out the regular season with home dates with Aurora Central Catholic on Monday and Chicago Christian on Wednesday. Looking ahead? The Spartans were represented Saturday at Autumnfest at Glenbard East. An innocent coincidence, or a chance to get a closer look at Joliet Catholic.

8. Libertyville 24-5 (9)

Earlier in the week, the Wildcats clinched the North Suburban Lake title with a 25-15, 26-24 win over Lake Forest behind Brooke Donovan's nine digs and two aces and Kristen Webb's 19 digs. But Libertyville ran into a little trouble at Pumpkinfest, falling to Sandburg 25-22, 25-23 in the final after taking down top-seeded Stagg, 25-19, 22-25, 25-12 in the semifinals. At least head coach Greg Loika couldn't be faulted. He was attending his brother's wedding in Iowa. Cindy Zhou had 89 assists and 25 kills in five tournament games, while Julie Smagacz had 37 kills. Libertyville hosts Lakes in the NSC title match Wednesday before hosting the Crosstown Classic next weekend.

9. Naperville Central 25-7 (10)

Naperville Central coach Brie Isaacson watched in horror as her team completely fell apart after building a 23-18 lead against West Aurora in the quarterfinals of the Autumnfest tournament Saturday at Glenbard East. "I thought we played a good first game, a good second game and I thought we played well the first 20 points of the third game," she said. "But the confusion and lack of confidence that took place on our side for last five points, that was disheartening." Isaacson could take some solace in her team's wins over Prairie Ridge and Glenbard West to end the day.

10. (tie) Glenbard West 32-2 (5)

A mixed bag for the Hilltoppers, who beat Silver division foes Downers Grove North and Addison Trail to win their first outright West Suburban Conference title since 1984, then dropped two of three Saturday at Autumnfest including a 25-11, 25-17 loss to Joliet Catholic to watch their 31-match win streak come to an end. "So our 31-game winning streak is over, big deal," said coach Pete Mastandrea. "That doesn't matter when you're 0-0 in the first round of the playoffs. That's the perspective we talk about. We wanted to be stretched (Saturday)."

10. (tie) Lincoln-Way Central 26-7 (10)

The Knights bounced back from a 25-23, 22-25, 25-21 loss to Lockport (Aubrey Ficek had 13 kills and 14 digs to lead the Porters) to defeat Lincoln-Way East 25-23, 25-21 in league play and downstate powerhouse Champaign Centennial 31-29, 23-25, 25-16 in the finals of the Autumn Knight tournament. Jacqueline Langer had a monster game against LW East with 14 kills while Amanda Dolan added seven kills and nine blocks. Wednesday, Lincoln-Way Central gets another tough test when they travel to Orland Park to take on Pumpkin tournament champion Sandburg, which has won 11 in a row.

Others: Sandburg, Marian Catholic, Hinsdale South, Stevenson, Stagg, Naperville North, Prairie Ridge, Crystal Lake South, Providence, Hersey, Palatine, Richmond-Burton, Lockport, Lincoln-Way East, Trinity, Nazareth, Fremd, Crystal Lake Central, Jacobs, St. Ignatius, Rosary, Chicago Christian, Immaculate Conception, Lemont, DeLaSalle, Glenbard South, Timothy Christian, St Charles East, Cary-Grove.

Quote of the Week: "I'm just constantly looking for a seam. I have no false thoughts. I know I'm not tall enough to pound through a block or can hit hard enough to pound over block. I'm always looking for seams or tipping in a hole somewhere. I just constantly rely on Hannah (Kaminsky). She does a good job of getting the ball out there fast so I can beat the blockers." - Benet's 5-foot-10 slightly-built senior outside hitter Nicky Barnes, who had nine kills to lead the Redwings to their 26-24, 25-16 victory over Mother McAuley at Autumnfest on Saturday.

Right here, right now: "What we've done in the past doesn't matter. It's just the match in front of us, the point in front of us, that's all we're worried about. At the end of the season we can sit back and think about things we've accomplished, but right now were just trying to win the next point. Realistically, that's all we're trying to do." - Benet coach Brad Baker, whose teams have won 45 consecutive regular-season tournament matches and nine consecutive tournament titles since 2010.

We're going to need a bigger broom: "We had a great beginning and we had a great finish. It was just that middle section where we struggled and we couldn't get any offense. It just spiraled from there. When we did get a good pass, we would just hit the ball out of bounds. I don't know how many hitting errors we had. It was on us. We need to minimize the mistakes we were making on our side of the net." - Joliet Catholic coach Chris Scheibe, whose team lost Game 2 of its Autumnfest semifinal against Benet 25-5.

Learn by doing: "We wanted to know what it takes to beat teams like these. We don't know how yet. But we wanted to be tested and hopefully we will learn. We came in knowing that this was insignificant in our season. The girls understand they still have a ceiling that they can attain. These are games that we will watch and learn from. There have been other games we don't want to watch that we were able to get away with some things that we did." - Glenbard West coach Pete Mastandrea, whose team lost to Joliet Catholic and Naperville Central Saturday at Autumnfest but still is favored to reach the Niles West supersectional against New Trier.

Autumnfest all-tournament team: Named to the all-tournament team at Autumnfest hosted by Glenbard East on Saturday were Anna Ponterelli (Loyola), Rachel Durchholz (Mt. Pulaski), Morgan Reardon (Joliet Catholic), Krista Brakauskas (Providence), Carly Nolan (Crystal Lake South), Caleigh Ryan (Glenbard West), Lauren Carlini (West Aurora), Alysia Baznik (Naperville Central), Rachel Minarick (Waubonsie Valley), Victoria Quintanilla (Hononegah), Mackenzie Humm (Prairie Ridge), Kelsey Clark (Mother McAuley), Carla Cahill (Mother McAuley), Cara Mattaliano (Benet) and tournament MVP Sheila Doyle (Benet).

Hot, hot, hot: Sandburg (25-8), winner of 11 in a row, won the Maine West Pumpkin Tournament defeating Lyons (25-14 25-13) and Maine West (25-7 25-10) in pool play Friday night, and then Lake Zurich (25-15 22-25 28-26), Evanston (23-25, 25-19 25-15) and Libertyville (25-23 25-22) in the championship match. Dakota Hampton had 40 kills on Saturday and Paige Bendell had 35 kills and 45 assists.

Record-breaking Raiders: Bolingbrook won last weekend's Minooka tournament to improve to 20-11-1 and set a school record for wins in a season, eclipsing the mark of 17 victories set in 1982. Bolingbrook defeated Joliet West (25-19, 29-27), Normal Community West (28-26, 16-25, 25-18), Minooka (28-26, 25-20) and St. Charles North (25-18, 25-16) to claim its second tournament title in as many weeks (the Raiders won the United Township Tournament in East Moline on October 5-6). Senior outside hitter Ciara Hill led Bolingbrook with 50 kills in the tournament, junior outside Krissa Gearing had 24 kills and 35 digs, and Marisa Markus contributed 64 assists. Alexa Piekarski added nine kills against Joliet West while Hill had 13 kills against both Normal West and Minooka.

It's cold outside -- must be time for Autumnfest

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Chicago Sun-Times 2012 Top 10 Girls Volleyball Teams
(Last week's ranking in parenthesis)

1. Mother McAuley 20-2 (1)

On the heels of their third-place finish at the Asics Challenge, the Mighty Macs defeated GCAC rivals St. Ignatius (25-20, 25-16), Mt. Assisi and Resurrection last week. This week, McAuley will tune up for what many people hope will be a showdown with Benet at the Autumnfest tournament hosted by Glenbard East with road trips to Queen of Peace on Tuesday and Trinity on Wednesday. McAuley wraps up the regular season at Lyons on October 17 followed by its annual ceremonial crowning at the GCAC tournament.

2. Marist 20-5 (2)

Marist bounced back from a fourth-place finish at the Asics Challenge to defeat East Suburban Catholic Conference rivals Marian Catholic 25-22, 25-16 and Fenwick 25-14, 30-28. Kelly Marcinek helped the RedHawks hold off the Friars with 10 kills and Taylor Holder added 14 assists and five digs. Elyse Panick powered Marist over Marian Catholic with nine kills, two blocks and 10 digs. Tuesday, Marist hosts Joliet Catholic before closing out the regular season with a trip to Arizona for the Nike Tournament of Champions October 19-21.

3. Benet 24-2 (3)

A big week for the Redwings included a 25-14, 25-22 win at always-hostile (but in a good way) Joliet Catholic on Thursday and a third tournament championship in as many tries Saturday at the Mizuno Scholastic Cup tournament. Benet defeated downstate power Edwardsville 25-14, 25-21 in the quarterfinals, regional rival Naperville Central 25-23, 25-23 in the semifinals and surprising finalist Lincoln-Way Central 25-5, 25-19 for the championship. How is this for a road to state - a regional final against Naperville Central and a sectional semifinal against West Aurora?

4. Joliet Catholic 23-4 (4)

The Angels defeated Providence 25-20, 25-15 behind eight kills apiece by Morgan Reardon and Julia Shemaitis and Hinsdale Central last week before cooling off a little with losses to Benet at home Thursday and Lincoln-Way Central 25-18, 25-11 in the semifinals of the Mizuno Scholastic Cup. Joliet Catholic did bounce back with a 27-25, 25-16 win over Naperville Central in the third-place match at the Great lakes Volleyball Center. It doesn't get any easier this week. Tuesday, the Angels visit Marist.

5. Glenbard West 27-0 (5)

The drought is finally over. The Hilltoppers clinched at least a share of their first West Suburban Conference title since 1984 with a 25-18, 25-17 Silver division victory over York last week. Caleigh Ryan led the way with four kills and 11 digs, Amanda Perry added seven kills and eight digs, and Katie Ball contributed four kills and two blocks. Now the Hilltoppers really get a chance to show what they're made of when they put their unbeaten record on the line at Autumnfest this weekend.

6. New Trier 25-0 (7)

New Trier rarely gets challenge in the Central Suburban League - last week was no different with a 25-7, 25-4 win over Waukegan - so at least Libertyville offered some resistance in the finals of the Discovery tournament at Glenbrook North. Despite trailing 17-11 in Game 1 and 18-11 in Game 2, the Trevians rallied for a 25-23, 25-21 victory. New Trier figures to have an easy road in the state tournament as well with only Trinity standing between them and berth in the Niles West supersectional.

7. West Aurora 23-3 (6)

A tough week for the Blackhawks. First, there was the 18-25, 25-23, 25-22 loss at Naperville Central on Tuesday despite 15 kills from Peyton McKenzie and eight kills, 16 assists and five blocks by Lauren Carlini, then there was the 25-19, 25-16 loss to New Trier in the semifinals of the Discovery tournament at Glenbrook North. West Aurora did come back to beat Nazareth for third place. The Blackhawks have another challenging week with a visit by DuPage Valley foe Naperville North Thursday and Autumnfest on the weekend.

8. St. Francis 26-5 (8)

The Spartans took care of business last week, defeating Rosary (25-13, 25-22), Immaculate Conception (25-8, 25-13) and Downers Grove South (25-8, 21-25, 25-14). Maddie Haggerty had 12 kills against Rosary, Becca Shearer led the way with six putaways against IC and Molly Haggerty had 14 kills against Downers South. A light week with a visit from Marian Central Catholic on Wednesday before the Spartans close out the regular season with home dates with Aurora Central Catholic and Chicago Christian the following Monday and Wednesday.

9. Libertyville 18-4 (9)

A frustrating final against New Trier at the Discovery tournament on Saturday. Libertyville led 17-11 in Game 1 and 18-11 in Game 2 before failing to finish the Trevians in a 25-23, 25-21 loss. Libertyville got caught in a difficult rotation at the end of Game 1 and lost rightside Taylor Zant in Game 2 when she stepped on a New Trier player's foot. Cindy Zhou led Libertyville with 11 assists, four aces and two kills after getting 14 kills in a semifinal win against Nazareth. Libero Kristen Webb had 22 digs in the final.

10. (tie) Naperville Central 20-6(NR)

Why does Benet coach fear playing Naperville Central in a regional final at Naperville Central? The Redhawks gave the Redwings all they could handle in a 25-23, 25-23 semifinal loss at the Mizuno Scholastic Cup tournament on Saturday after they downed West Aurora 18-25, 25-23, 25-22 earlier in the week. The veteran Central team is led by outsides Alyssa Baznik, Kendall Ward and Sammy Condon and gets great work in the back row from libero Carly Wesolowski. A player to watch is 6-foot-2 sophomore middle Phoebe Havenaar.

10. (tie) Lincoln-Way Central 20-6(NR)

The surprise team of the weekend was Lincoln-Way Central, which knocked off No. 2 seed Joliet Catholic 25-18, 25-11 and No. 3 seed Hinsdale South 27-25, 25-18 at the Mizuno Scholastic Cup tournament. An eye opener for visiting college scouts was 5-foot-8 junior outside Maria Brown, who was unstoppable in both matches. But it was 5-10 setter Kaitlyn Siadek who drew the most praise from coach Kathy Sulkowski. Siadek had a "game-changing" solo block at 25-25 in Game 1 against Hinsdale South that propelled the Knights into the semifinals.

Others: Stevenson, Marian Catholic, Providence, Hinsdale South, Sandburg, Stagg, Naperville North, Hersey, Prairie Ridge, Palatine, Richmond-Burton, Lockport, Lincoln-Way East, Nazareth, Fremd, Crystal Lake South, Crystal Lake Central, Jacobs, DeLaSalle, St. Ignatius, Rosary, Chicago Christian, Immaculate Conception, Lemont, Glenbard South, Trinity, Timothy Christian.

Quote of the Week: "It was like magic. Our defense was crazy good." - Benet setter Hannah Kaminsky about a 25-5 first set in the Redwings' 25-5, 25-19 victory over Lincoln-Way Central in the championship of the Mizuno Scholastic Cup tournament at the Great Lakes Volleyball center in Aurora on Saturday.

Milestone: Congratulations to Fremd's Curt Pinley, who recently won his 300th match as girls volleyball coach when the Vikings defeated rival Palatine 25-13, 22-25, 25-15. Pinley has also won more than 350 matches as the school's boys volleyball coach.

Help, I need someone...: Montini is looking for one more team to fill its 16-team Christmas tournament December 26-29. If interested, please call Eric Scott at (630) 627-6930, ext. 174.

Imagine if the IHSA decided to dump Lincoln-Way East, Glenbard West, Maine South and Loyola in the same four-team bracket in the 32-team Class 8A football field.

The uproar would be deafening. Lawyers would be crawling out of the drywall. Fans would write thousands of vitriolic emails directed at IHSA administrators.

Of course, that's not going to happen. It only happens in girls sports. Like volleyball. Because despite Title IX and despite professing to care about kids, the IHSA just doesn't.

Look at what happened to the Class 4A girls sectional at Neuqua Valley. A few days ago, it was 23-team sectional waiting to be seeded by coaches. Then magically, mysteriously, the IHSA decided to take seeding out of the equation, capriciously assigning schools to four ridiculously unbalanced regionals.

Now, the IHSA has done this before where the geography is a little out of hand, particularly in the smaller school classes where teams may be 30, 40, 50 miles or more removed from their nearest competitor.

But it's not like Naperville is that far from Aurora, is it? Or Oswego? Or Downers Grove?

But apparently, the IHSA must feel that it's just too much to ask kids in Downers Grove to ride a bus to Plainfield for a regional. More likely, the IHSA just doesn't care.

Who gets punished? Why of course, the girls. The girls who work hard all year to have a chance at winning something as simple as a regional championship. The girls who only want the same fair chance that the boys get in football.

Well girls, that ain't gonna happen.

Here are the "revised" regional assignments for the Neuqua Valley sectional. Three of the teams that would have been likely to get a top four seed are in the same six-team regional. Only West Aurora managed to avoid getting s____ed by the IHSA.

The Plainfield North Regional now features Oswego East, Oswego, Plainfield East, Plainfield North and Yorkville. Bolingbrook, Lemont, Lockport. Plainfield Central. Plainfield South and Romeoville are at Romeoville. Aurora East, Metea Valley, Rosary and West Aurora join the hosts at Waubonsie Valley.

That leaves Downers Grove North, Downers Grove South, Benet, Naperville Central, Neuqua Valley and Naperville North in one regional at Central. Three of the top four teams in the sectional - Benet, Central and Naperville North - in one six-team regional.

The IHSA claims the move was necessary to accommodate Yorkville, which was bumped up to 4A by the IHSA's new 25-25-25-25 enrollment split when assigning schools to certain sports. The IHSA says that Yorkville is not located in the "Chicagoland Box."

That must be news to the folks in Yorkville. After all, football teams in its conference, the Northern Illinois Big 12 (East), play teams like (Chicago) Brooks, (Oak Lawn) Richards, (Chicago) Corliss, (New Lenox) Lincoln-Way West, (Chicago) North Lawndale and Aurora East for nonconference games.

Must be overnight trips.

And Yorkville itself hosted a volleyball tournament in September. Among the participants? Plainfield South, Lisle, Plainfield North, Oswego and Joliet West.

How were those hotel rooms, girls? Surely, Yorkville is too far to travel to and from in one day!

Now imagine if the IHSA had done something like this in football? They don't. No. 16 seed Belleville East still made the trip to No. 1 Waubonsie Valley last year. Imagine if the IHSA does this in boys basketball? Can you imagine the uproar if Metea Valley, Waubonsie Valley, East Aurora and West Aurora are assigned to one regional in boys basketball?

Don't worry. The IHSA won't do that in boys basketball. They wouldn't. Don't be surprised to find Yorkville back in "the box" for boys basketball. Besides, that's not a girls sport. Girls? They just don't care.

It's not that they don't want girls to ride the bus. They would just prefer to throw them under it.

Chicago Sun-Times 2012 Top 10 Girls Volleyball Teams
(Last week's ranking in parenthesis)

1. Mother McAuley 17-2 (3)

The Mighty Macs handled Marist 25-15, 25-16 in the third of a possible four meetings this season in Saturday's third-place match of the Asics Challenge. Junior setter Courtney Joyce had 20 assists, most of them to Kelsey Clark (eight kills), Kennedy Arundel (six kills) and Ryann DeJarld (five kills). The Mighty Macs beat Pius XI 31-29, 25-18 in the quarterfinals and lost to Notre Dame (Kentucky) in the semifinals 25-20, 17-25, 25-14. The Mighty Macs won't be challenged again until the Autumnfest tournament at Glenbard East on October 12-13.

2. Marist 18-5 (2)

Marist showed its mettle by pushing Kentucky powerhouse (Louisville) Assumption in a Gold semifinal at the Asics Challenge. Marist took a 16-11 lead in Game One, then after falling behind 18-11 and 23-15 in Game Two, rallied to within 24-23 before the eventual champions put the match away. Earlier in the day, Marist defeated No. 5 seed St. Francis 22-25, 25-13, 25-15. Despite the loss to McAuley, it was a solid week for the RedHawks who held on to beat visiting Benet 25-20, 23-25, 25-22 on Thursday behind Mallory Salis' 16 kills.

3. Benet 17-2 (1)

Brittany Pavich had nine kills and sophomore Natalie Canulli added four as Benet snapped its two-game losing streak by defeating Batavia 25-16, 25-20 on Friday. Benet also welcomed back Brittany Kmieciak, the Redwings' second-best backrow passer, who was sorely missed in losses to Marian Catholic and Marist. Her absence hampered Benet's ability to run its quick offense. Benet coach Brad Baker said the Redwings were "one play away" from changing the outcome of its three-set loss at Marist Thursday, in which Cara Mattaliano had 12 kills and three blocks.

4. Joliet Catholic 17-2 (8)

The Angels strengthened their claim as the best Class 3A team north of Champaign with a 25-17, 23-25, 25-17 victory over St. Francis in a Gold division consolation semifinal at the Asics Challenge. Morgan Reardon led Joliet Catholic with 25 kills. Julia Shemaitis added 13 kills and Mallory Mangun had 36 assists. The Angels host Benet on Thursday, then join Benet and Hinsdale South at the Mizuno Cup tournament hosted by St. Charles East Friday and Saturday at the Great Lakes Volleyball Center in Aurora.

5. Glenbard West 24-0 (5)

The Hilltoppers cruised to three easy conference wins last week including a 25-12, 25-8 victory over Proviso West, a 25-11, 25-13 victory over Willowbrook and a 25-12, 25-19 walk over Morton. Megan Wagner continues to be setter Caleigh Ryan's favorite target, nailing seven kills against Morton, 10 kills against Willowbrook and seven kills against Proviso West. Meanwhile, Megan DeMarr is establishing herself as one of the top liberos in the state. The Hilltoppers will put their unbeaten record on the line at Autumnfest hosted by Glenbard East October 12-13.

6. West Aurora 18-1 (6)

The Blackhawks face a big week with DuPage Valley Conference rival Naperville Central paying a visit on Tuesday and a road trip to Glenbard North on Thursday. Last week, West Aurora had little trouble with Glenbard East and Wheaton Warrenville South. Saturday, all eyes will be fixed on the Glenbrook North tournament where the final could come down to a showdown between the once-beaten Blackhawks led by Wisconsin-bound senior setter Lauren Carlini and unbeaten New Trier and its Northwestern-bound junior setter Taylor Tashima.

7. New Trier 18-0 (7)

Evanston and Lake Forest extended New Trier to three games in a pair of matches last week. Evanston, which is trying to rebound from a dismal performance at Wheaton Classic, fell to the Trevians 25-15, 26-28, 25-21. Lake Forest gave New Trier all it could handle in Game Two, but the Trevians had everything going its way otherwise in a 25-9, 20-25, 25-13 victory. New Trier is home against Niles West on Tuesday and at Waukegan Thursday before participating in the Glenbrook North invite on October 5-6.

8. St. Francis 23-5 (4)

A tough weekend for the Spartans at the Asics Challenge, losing to Marist in three grueling sets 22-25, 25-13, 25-15 and to Class 3A rival Joliet Catholic 25-17, 23-25, 25-17 in a Gold division consolation semifinal. This on the heels of easy wins over St. Edward and Wheaton Academy earlier in the week. The Spartans will try to get back on track this week with trips to Immaculate Conception on Monday and Rosary on Wednesday and a home match against Downers Grove South on Thursday.

9. Libertyville 13-3 (10)

Cindy Zhou had 15 assists and four kills, Kristen Webb added 23 dis, Taylor Zant contributed five kills and two blocks and Julie Smagacz added four kills and two blocks as Libertyville defeated Lake County rival Carmel. Later, the Wildcats barely broke a sweat in a 25-4, 25-7 win over North Suburban Conference foe North Chicago. Wednesday, the Wildcats are at Mundelein before competing in the Glenbrook North invite Friday and Saturday against a field that includes New Trier and West Aurora.

10. Hinsdale South 13-4 (9)

Good Hornets, bad Hornets? It was a simple line in a local newspaper: York def. Hinsdale South 25-23, 25-19. If so, it would be reminiscent of last year's rollercoaster ride for coach Lisa Martinez's charges. Regardless, the Hornets can make a big statement this weekend with a solid performance at the Mizuno Cup tournament hosted by St. Charles East at the Great Lakes Volleyball Center in Aurora. Prior to that, the Hornets are at Proviso East on Tuesday and at home against Neuqua Valley on Wednesday.

Others: Stevenson, Naperville Central, Marian Catholic, Providence, Sandburg, Lincoln-Way Central, Stagg, Lockport, Hersey, Lincoln-Way East, Prairie Ridge, Naperville North, Nazareth, Palatine, Fremd, Crystal Lake South, Crystal Lake Central, Jacobs, St. Ignatius, Rosary, Chicago Christian, Immaculate Conception, Montini, Lemont, Glenbard South, West Chicago, Trinity, Timothy Christian.

Milestone: Joliet Catholic's victory over St. Francis at the Asics Challenge on Saturday was coach Christine Scheibe's 400th career victory. Scheibe has been a head coach for 13 seasons averaging more than 30 wins per year.

Quote of the Week: "It's a tough conference, the toughest conference in Illinois." - Nazareth libero Emily Milligan on the East Suburban Catholic Conference, which includes Marist, Benet, Joliet Catholic, Providence and the Roadrunners.

For the Cure: Naperville Central visits Wheaton Warrenville South on Monday, October 1 in a "Volley for the Cure" event. This has become one of the biggest cancer fundraisers of its kind, if not the biggest, in the state. The two teams raised more than $52,000 in 2011.

It's all about the Cup: The pools for the Mizuno Scholatic Cup hosted by St. Charles East and played at the Great Lakes Volleyball Center in Aurora on Friday and Saturday have been released. Pool play begins Friday with games at 5:00, 6:15 and 7:30 p.m., and play continues in bracket format Saturday beginning at 8:00 a.m.

The top four seeds (and the other teams in their pools) in order are: Benet (Neuqua Valley, Rosary), Joliet Catholic (Muskego, Hinsdale Central), Hinsdale South (Leon, Fla., Geneva) and Naperville Central (Prairie Ridge, Peoria Notre Dame).

Seeds 5-8 are: Lincoln-Way East (Bloomington, Wheaton Warrenville South), Lincoln-Way Central (Barrington, Oak Forest), Naperville North (St. Charles East, Rockford Guilford) and Edwardsville (Lockport, St. Charles East JV).

Milestone: Congratulations to Hersey coach Nancy Lill, who earned her 800th career victory Tuesday when Hersey defeated Buffalo Grove 25-12, 25-9. Anna Mullenmuhr had 6 kills and Courtney Stedman added 5 kills for the Huskies (19-3, 8-0) who clinched the Mid-Suburban East title.

After losing at Marian Catholic and Marist within the last two weeks, Benet took its show on the road for another clash with an East Suburban Catholic Conference powerhouse. Thursday, the Redwings were at Joliet Catholic.

The environment was just as unfriendly as the previous two stops, only the result was different.

"This is a great environment," Benet coach Brad Baker said. "There are a lot of fans screaming and yelling, and you can't simulate the postseason in practice but this is as close as you're going to get. You have to be able to travel, to go on the road and play in a hostile environment."

Any hostility Benet might have encountered turned into frustration as the Redwings defeated Joliet Catholic 25-14, 25-22 to hand the Angels their first league loss.

Cara Mattaliano collected 12 kills and an ace, Brittany Pavich had six kills, Nicole Barnes added five kills, Hannah Kaminsky added 25 assists and libero Sheila Doyle was credited with 17 service points and eight digs as Benet improved to 19-2.

Defense and passing have replaced a high-ball offense as a Benet staple this season.

"We had a real good week of practice and that showed today," Mattaliano said. "Every day at practice, the passers stay late and get in some extra repetitions. We know in order to have a fast offense, we have to pass the ball up to Hannah. So we're working really hard to keep up with the passing."

Joliet Catholic coach Chris Scheibe, who watched video of Benet's match at Marist, tried to warn her team that the Redwings would bring the defense Thursday.

"I spent the afternoon watching them and Marist and the thing I said to the girls was that they're (Benet) in defensive position every single play," she said. "It's not going to be easy because they're always in position, and we just have to keep going at them and going at them and going at them.

"Unfortunately, we didn't pass well enough to keep going at them," Scheibe added.

Benet (4-2 in the conference) jumped out to an 11-5 lead in Game 1 only to watch Joliet Catholic fight to within 12-11 on back-to-back kills by Katelyn Seeman. A block by Kaminsky stretched Benet's lead to 15-12, and then Doyle stepped to the service line.

The 5-foot-5 senior, better known for her defensive wizardry, proceeded to serve eight consecutive points including three aces to give the visitors an insurmountable 23-12 advantage.

Game 2 was more of the same as Benet broke a tie at 13 with an 8-3 run fueled by a pair of kills by Barnes. Joliet Catholic got within 23-20, but 6-2 sophomore middle Rachael Fara ended the drama with a quick hitter over the middle.

Morgan Reardon led Joliet Catholic (19-3, 5-1) with nine kills, Seeman added four and Mallory Mangun dealt the rock 16 times to go along with a kill.

"I think Morgan sometimes wants it so bad she tries to take the weight of the world on her shoulders and tries to impress too much," Scheibe said. "It's just a matter of her finding shots sometimes instead of going strong and powerful all the time."

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