Kennedy wins first Public League title

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There is a new team at the top of the mountain of Public League girls volleyball.

Kennedy, which had never played for a city final, continued its unprecedented run with a 25-21, 22-25, 25-20 win over Young in the Public League tournament final on Friday at Chicago State.

Young had not only won the last four city titles, but also played in the title match 10 of the past 11 years.

“It’s about time…it’s about time a neighborhood schools came in and beat a magnet school,’’ said senior Grace Jurevis. “It doesn’t happen often but this shows it can happen.’’

For many teams, playing in that type of environment would cause jitters. But not Kennedy.

“We’ve grown together as a team and a family,’’ said Jurevis, who finished with seven kills. “We came together as freshman, dominated that year and won the frosh-soph city title, fourth place last year and now first this year. This is what we’ve been working for the entire time.’’

In Game 1, four of the first five Kennedy points were scored on service errors. Young finished with six service errors in the first game and 11 overall. Six hitting errors in the first game also helped Kennedy (23-4) pull out the victory.

The Dolphins looked like they had overcome their slow start when a kill by Ann Ernst gave them a 13-11 in Game 2. Young extended the lead to 24-19 before the Crusaders rattled off three straight points, causing Dolphins coach Jaime Walters to use both her timeouts. A block of Nebal Algholeh gave the Young the game.

Ernst had four of her match-high nine kills for the Dolphins in the Game 2.

Losing only its second game to a Public League opponent this season (its first was in yesterday’s semifinal against Northside) didn’t put any doubts into the heads of Crusaders, however.

“We just had all the confidence in the world,’’ senior Melissa Mazur said. “We had the will and the heart and pulled through it.’’

“We were nothing but excited coming into this.’’

Kennedy, which was led by Algholeh’s eight kills, ran out to a 6-3 in Game 3 lead before Young battled back to a 9-9 tie. The Crusaders answered with a 7-2 run that would be too much for the Dolphins to overcome.

“Winning this helps us with how we’re going forward,’’ said Mazur, who had eight kills. “We’re going to have a positive attitude and know we can beat some teams.’’

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