There’s a word you hear a lot at Mother McAuley these days. Experience.
“We have a lot of experience this year,” McAuley’s Ryann DeJarld said. “We played at least 10 games against nationally-ranked teams like St. James in (Lenexa) Kansas and the Louisville tournament. And winning the Asics Challenge for the first time since 1997, that’s been really good for us.
“We’ve played Assumption (Louisville, Kentucky) and other teams who are just like them, the same level. I think the thing we had (today) was experience, and that helped us.”
McAuley parlayed all that experience into another tournament title Saturday, this time beating Benet, 25-19, 25-20, to win the Autumnfest Tournament hosted by Glenbard East.
Ryann DeJarld led the Mighty Macs (30-3) with 15 kills, middle hitters Kelsey Clark and Kayla Caffey (two blocks) each had six kills, Jane DeJarld added 19 assists and Carla Cahill and Margaret Scanlon each had seven digs.
There’s another word you hear at McAuley. Businesslike. The Mighty Macs went about their business Saturday dispatching Normal, 25-19, 25-17, in the quarterfinals and Glenbard West, 25-9, 25-20, in the semifinals before facing previously unbeaten Benet.
“This team is really businesslike,” McAuley coach Jen DeJarld said. “They approach everything the same. We talk a lot about that, that you can you play to the same ability no matter who your opponent may be. That’s kind of one of our mantras.
“It doesn’t matter who’s out there, we need to control our side of the court and stay quick at working at things that are working. They’re businesslike. They expect to win. They know how to compete. They have that experience. That’s the biggest word. Experience. “
Told her daughter used the same word, coach DeJarld laughed.
“I guess the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree,” she said.
Benet (32-1) did not go down easily. The Redwings used a 6-2 run in Game 1 to cut into a 17-11 deficit and force a McAuley timeout. But kills by Caffey, Kennedy Arundel and Ryann DeJarld snuffed out the Benet comeback effort.
In Game 2, Benet erased a 13-8 deficit and took a 17-16 lead. A kill by Dana Griffin kept the set knotted at 19-19, but a dump kill by Jane DeJarld and a Redwings’ error sealed the second set and the championship.
Griffin led Benet with six kills and a block, and Tiffany Clark and Veronica Snelling both had four kills. Sara Nielsen added 15 assists.
“McAuley played really well,” Benet coach Brad Baker said. “When you get to these big matches, you got to expect teams to play well, and we need to play well to go with it. I thought we continued to get better against them as the second game went along. Hopefully, we can play them again.”
Baker downplayed the experience factor.
“At this point of the season, we’ve played in three other championship matches,” he said. “All these girls have been around and played in big match after big match. I don’t know if experience matters. They just outplayed us.”
St. Charles East (26-7), which lost to Benet in the semifinals, 25-16, 25-18, bounced back to beat Glenbard West (23-7) for third place, 25-17, 25-22. Normal (23-4) took fifth with a 25-23, 25-27, 25-19 win over Crystal Lake South (28-7), and Loyola (22-9) was a 25-18, 25-16 winner over Downers Grove North (20-14) in the seventh-place match.