Girls Volleyball: Wheaton St. Francis ousts Joliet Catholic
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media November 1, 2012 9:00PM
A stunned Joliet Catholic girls volleyball team starts to move off the floor after losing St. Francis. | Judy Fidkowski~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 3, 2012 6:40AM
With certain rivalries, the records, the talent, the previous meetings, they all can be thrown out the window.
Wheaton St. Francis vs. Joliet Catholic certainly qualifies in that regard.
The two powers met up in the playoffs Thursday night for the seventh straight season.
“Sometimes when teams play, it doesn’t matter who has better talent or who’s playing well,” St. Francis coach Peg Kopec said. “All bets are off, and it’s competitive like this.”
Playing for the Class 3A Glenbard South Sectional title, it was St. Francis prevailing over Joliet Catholic, winning a 25-15, 24-26, 30-28 slugfest. The Spartans advance to play host Chicago Christian in the Saturday’s supersectional.
Molly Haggerty was a force for St. Francis (34-5), finishing with 18 kills while her sister, Maddie, had 11 kills with Becca Shearer (8 kills) and McKenna Kelsay (34 assists) contributing.
Morgan Reardon (14 kills, 9 digs), Mallory Mangun (29 assists, 8 digs) and Julia Shemaitis (10 kills) led Joliet Catholic (32-7).
It was the Spartans who were dominant early, taking Set 1 thanks to a closing 15-6 run. Joliet Catholic counter-punched, holding off a late St. Francis charge in the second set.
Serving 23-21 in the third set, the Angels had their chances. A service error gave the ball back to St. Francis, and the back-and-forth battle continued.
Down the stretch, St. Francis twice faced elimination — at 25-24 and 26-25 — only to come back. Moments later Joliet Catholic was on the edge, down 27-26 and 28-27. Off a tie at 28, Maddie Haggerty’s 11th kill gave the Spartans the advantage.
With match point on the line, Kristin Acciavatti’s deep hit was dug out by the Angels. After Shemaitis’ dig off a second hit, Reardon’s dig from well behind the service line hit the ceiling on the way over, giving St. Francis the match.
“It could have gone either way in the end,” Joliet Catholic coach Christine Scheibe said. “After Game 1, we played about as well as we could. We didn’t have anyone size-wise to match up with their size.”