Mighty Macs state their case away from home
In an attempt to again become the best volleyball team in the state, Mother McAuley has gone outside the state for preparation.
Coach Jen DeJarld’s strategy has been to go wherever the competition is fiercest, and for the past two weekends that’s sent the Mighty Macs on road trips. Last weekend McAuley appeared at the 24-school Louisville Invitational and went 4-1 against a string of heavy hitters, a performance good enough to net the Macs runner-up status at the prestigious event.
“These last two weekends, traveling out of state and playing five of the nation’s top teams, was a great experience for us,” DeJarld said. “The reason we compete in those matches is to be fully tested early on and also to make us aware of what our deficiencies are.
“I think from one week the level of our play has increased dramatically — the speed of our play has definitely increased. We’ve made a lot of improvements in just one week. I’m really happy at the place we’re at right now.”
McAuley began play in Louisville with wins over two Kentucky programs: Holy Cross (25-10, 25-15) and Dunbar (25-11, 25-17). Kelsey Clark put down eight of her tournament-total 25 kills in the victory over Dunbar.
DeJarld’s daughters, Ryann and Jane, stepped forward against Bishop Watterson (Ohio). Ryann DeJarld delivered nine kills, four service aces and 10 digs in a 25-20, 25-11 triumph while her sister dished out 32 assists. For the tourney, Ryann DeJarld supplied 31 kills and 39 digs and Jane DeJarld passed out 82 assists.
Jane DeJarld (27 assists, 14 digs, two blocks), Kayla Caffey (11 kills) and Kennedy Arundel (14 digs) spearheaded the Macs’ 25-22, 21-25, 25-16 semifinal conquest of Louisville Sacred Heart. McAuley (9-2) was denied the tournament championship by Louisville Mercy, which rebounded from a Game 1 setback to bag a 19-25, 25-15, 25-18 match victory.
Coming up one win short of a title did nothing to discourage Coach DeJarld, however.
“We want to be always playing with the best to get better for the upcoming two months — that’s how we do it,” she said. “We’ve been tested against some of the best [teams] in the nation and we’ve responded well. I think these experiences will definitely help in the long run. If we’re playing later at the level we’re playing at now, I can only imagine where we’re going to be two months from now.
“We’re working out the kinks, like everyone else. We’re trying to be more fluid and work on our communication skills. The five matches this weekend helped ignite that.”
Before heading to Kentucky McAuley beat Wheaton-St. Francis (25-16, 25-20) and De La Salle (23-25, 25-17, 25-15) on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively. The match with the Meteors was the Macs’ Girls Catholic Athletic Conference Red opener.
Ryann DeJarld and Caffey registered seven kills apiece and Jane DeJarld distributed 15 assists to fuel the charge against the Spartans. The same three also played key roles on Thursday, as did Clark (eight kills), Arundel (four kills, 12 digs) and Carla Cahill (seven digs).
Caffey had 11 kills and four blocks, Ryann DeJarld recorded 10 kills, five aces and eight digs, and Jane DeJarld passed out 25 assists versus De La Salle.
“Wheaton-St. Francis is another highly ranked team in the nation,” Coach DeJarld said. “That was a big win to start the week for us.
“De La Salle gave us a very tough conference match and it was another good test for us. We were a little flat in the first game, but the girls got it together and kept their poise. They made some adjustments and came away with their first conference win.
“It was a good day for us.”
The Knights continued their winning ways last week as they went 6-0 to improve their record to an impressive 18-2.
Chicago Christian began with a 25-18, 25-22 defeat of fellow Metro Suburban Conference East member and longtime rival Illiana Christian last Thursday. The Knights used a balanced attack to thwart the Vikings as Anna Kamp (11 kills, seven digs), Stephanie Kuiper (six kills), Leah Kamp (five), Sam Kubik (22 assists, three aces) and Barbara Arrington (two blocks) all lent a hand.
Chicago Christian grabbed the Game 1 advantage for good by using an 8-0 run to break an 8-all stalemate. Game 2 tilted the Knights’ way once a 15-all tie was snapped.
On Saturday Christian swept past five opponents to claim the championship of the Leyden Classic. Kubik (81 assists) and Leah Kamp (38 kills) were the Knights’ headliners in the tournament, which was won with a 25-20, 25-19 decision over Westmont in the finale.
Glenbard West (27-25, 25-13) and Providence Catholic (25-12, 25-18) were the RedHawks’ latest victims as they climbed over the .500 mark.
Lizzie Zaleski (23 assists, five blocks, four kills), Cameron Enright (seven kills, six aces, 10 digs) and Alyssa Rizzo (21 digs) propelled Marist past Glenbard last Monday. Zaleski (21 assists, seven aces) and Enright (seven kills, eight digs) were notables again on Wednesday in the RedHawks’ East Suburban Catholic Conference opener.
Colleen Reilly contributed eight kills for Marist (3-1, 1-0) in the latter triumph.
The Astros prevailed in two South Suburban Conference crossover matches last week.
Tinley Park couldn’t maintain momentum after a Game 1 win on Tuesday and wound up suffering a 21-25, 25-14, 25-20 loss. Abby Graham was host Shepard’s headliner with 13 kills and 16 digs.
Defeating Hillcrest on Thursday required only two sets as the Astros (8-2, 3-0) rolled to a 25-11, 25-9 victory. Nikki Alex’s 13 digs helped Shepard cruise.
Dana Wujcik totaled seven kills, nine digs and three aces as the Bulldogs (4-4, 1-1) got the better of Hillcrest (25-23, 25-11) in an SSC crossover last Tuesday.
The Spartans (1-3, 1-1) defeated TF North 25-21, 25-19 in an SSC crossover last Tuesday behind solid play from Simona Tomczak (11 digs, six kills) and Alli Yacko (eight kills).
Providence Catholic shrugged off Lexi Mantas’ four kills and 10 digs on Stagg’s behalf to defeat the Chargers 25-18, 25-17 in a nonconference encounter last Thursday. Stagg fell to 3-5.
The Mustangs dropped a straight-sets verdict to TF South (25-12, 25-12) in an SSC crossover last Tuesday.
QUEEN OF PEACE
Big days from Bethany Kingsley (25 assists), Samantha Stirn (eight kills) and Colleen Corbett (12 digs) helped the Pride (5-9) subdue DePaul College Prep last week. Loyola Academy, however, got the better of Queen of Peace (14-25, 25-23, 25-22) in a GCAC Red match on Thursday.