Girls Volleyball: Joliet Catholic outlasts Providence
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media October 31, 2013 8:06PM
Updated: October 31, 2013 10:51PM
Joliet Catholic’s Julia Shemaitis hasn’t seen a first set quite like Thursday’s.
No, it wasn’t a good opener. Far from it. It was the worst she’d seen the Angels play.
So losing the set in a 25-10 blowout to rival Providence, it came down to one thing above all else.
“It was sheer determination,” Shemaitis said with a smile. “We had to stay calm, stay focused. We let the focus get away that first set so we had to match Providence’s fire.”
Consider the fire matched.
Executing down the stretch in the second set and dominating the third, Joliet Catholic claimed a 10-25, 25-23, 25-18 victory over Providence in for the Class 3A Aurora Central Catholic Regional championship.
The title marked Joliet Catholic’s 13 straight regional title.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever wanted anything more,” the Angels’ Megan Rogers said.
It was Rogers dominating at the service line late in the third when the 13th title seemed up for grabs. Having bottomed out in the first set and turned things around in the second, Joliet Catholic (23-14) trailed 15-13 in the third. A Providence miscommunication on a dig gave the ball back to the Angels, with Rogers ready to serve.
Rogers rattled off a 9-0 service run as Joliet Catholic went from possibly down and out to holding a commanding lead.
“I was aiming at the seam (in the defense) and just kept going,” Rogers said. “Our blockers were amazing.”
Rogers’ run saw no aces, but Shemaitis (10 kills) and Angela Vera teamed up for three huge blocks, Vera adding a fourth with Mary Murphy (20 assists) as Joliet Catholic went up 23-15.
“We wanted it so bad,” Shemaitis said. “I’m so proud. That’s the best Angela has blocked, and it was just amazing. The seniors, we talked about it, and we were going to do anything we could to make sure it wasn’t our last match.”
Joliet Catholic, which will play Tuesday at the Coal City Sectional, received key contributions from Madeline Grimm (10 kills), Rogers (8 kills) and Maddie Naal (3 blocks).
Providence (22-15) was led by Allison Errthum (7 kills), Allie Marthaler (16 digs), Annie Cummings (6 kills), Rachel Alles (18 assists, 4 aces) and Megan Falls (6 kills, 5 blocks).
“We just got down on ourselves in the third,” Falls said. “It’s hard to lose like that, and we never got that streak going. We still had a great season. Our first set, that’s as good as we’ve ever played.”