Girls Volleyball: Joliet Catholic leads area quintet into sectionals
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media October 29, 2012 10:46PM
Morgan Reardon, of Joliet Catholic, digs out a shot against Pius XI during the Gold Consolation match for the Asics Challenge at Mother McAuley, Saturday, September 29th, 2012 in Chicago, IL. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
(All semifinals Tuesday;
finals 7 p.m. Thursday)
AT LINCOLN-WAY CENTRAL
vs. Sandburg, 6 p.m.
vs. Stagg, 7 p.m.
Benet vs. West Aurora, 6 p.m.
Lemont vs. Plainfield North,
Normal Community West
vs. Minooka, 6 p.m.
Edwardsville vs. O’Fallon
(at Belleville West), 6 p.m.
Wheaton St. Francis, 6 p.m.
Joliet Catholic, 7 p.m.
vs. Seneca, 6 p.m.
vs. Watseka, 7 p.m.
Updated: December 1, 2012 6:22AM
Having won 11 straight regional titles entering the season, Joliet Catholic took care of business last week, adding a 12th straight plaque to the trophy case with a three-set thriller over rival Providence.
For the three-time state champion Angels, though, it’s all a process to the bigger goal.
“I think it is a stepping stone, and the regional is something you have to get on the way to that next step,” coach Christine Scheibe said. “Are the girls satisfied? I sure hope not. I don’t think so, and they’ve got bigger things in mind. We get back in the gym and focus on the next team.”
Along with five other area teams still alive in the playoffs, Joliet Catholic (31-6) continues its effort at claiming a state championship Tuesday night when it opens the Class 3A Glenbard South Sectional semifinals against Nazareth.
Joliet Catholic defeated Nazareth 25-13, 25-16 in September and also defeated the Roadrunners in the sectional semis last season.
In the aftermath of the Angels’ back-and-forth win against Providence, outside hitter Morgan Reardon was very pleased to see the team bounce back from a disappointing second-set performance. But five wins away from a state title, the Angels can see what they have been working for, and the picture is getting clearer.
“I was really excited that we were able to come back, but obviously the ultimate goal is to win state,” Reardon said. “It’s what we dream about at night, but we’ve got to focus on one game at a time.”
Scheibe was glad to see her team tested by Providence.
“It will only make us stronger, and we have a tough road ahead of us,” Scheibe said. “We’re going to see that high level of competition, and if we’re not prepared, that’s going to hurt us.”
Making a second straight sectional appearance, Lincoln-Way Central may have a trump card: home-court advantage.
The Knights host a 4A sectional and will play Stagg at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
“Once we found out we were hosting the sectional, we didn’t want to just be there to set up and take down the nets,” Central coach Kathy Sulkowski said. “We wanted to be playing on our home court, and that could be huge. It’s that familiar feel of our own gym, but it will be a battle point for point.”
Central beat a 24-win Lincoln-Way North team in the regional semis, then upset two-seeded Marist in the finals. The route doesn’t get any easier, but Sulkowski never said it would.
“We can’t dwell on the tough scheduling,” Sulkowski said. “It’s, ‘Here’s the challenge. Let’s take it.’ This could be the best sectional in the state, and we’re prepared for it. You can embrace it or complain.”
Lemont (25-12) embraced a jump from Class 3A to 4A this season. In 3A in 2011 the Indians failed to win a regional for the first time in six seasons, but in their first crack at 4A they knocked off Plainfield Central for the Lockport Regional title and a berth in the Neuqua Valley Sectional.
Awaiting them will be Plainfield North (27-8), which is making its first sectional appearance. The host Tigers cruised through their own regional, defeating Oswego and Oswego East.
Minooka (23-11) is making its third straight sectional appearance and is hoping to avoid its third straight sectional finals loss to Edwardsville. A rematch would require the Indians to get by Normal Community West while Edwardsville would have to beat O’Fallon in the Normal Community Sectional’s other semifinal.