Mother McAuley trumps Marist before full house

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Mother McAuley already has played and beaten the preseason No. 1 team in the nation.

How could hosting Marist on Tuesday night possibly measure up in excitement?

Roughly 2,000 fans in the stands provided a pretty impressive answer.

“It’s more than our team doing it. It’s the school atmosphere,” Ryann DeJarld said after leading McAuley to a 25-11, 25-15 victory.

“During lunch [Tuesday] everyone got so pumped up. We were all so excited. You know, it’s Marist. It’s always special.”

DeJarld had 10 kills and two aces, Kennedy Arundel five kills and two aces, Kelsey Clark five kills and two blocks, Courtney Joyce 22 assists, seven digs and two aces and Maggie Scanlon 13 digs as McAuley improved to 10-1.

Lizzie Zaleski (seven kills), Meg Ryan (four kills), Carolyn Yerkes (eight digs), Molly Mayo (15 assists) and Colleen Reilly (three blocks) led Marist (3-2).

The match itself didn’t quite live up to the intensity of the capacity crowd. The Macs, deep in returnees from a team that finished third in Class 4A in 2012, were relentless at the net.

They also were aggressive from the service line, producing points runs of 3-0, 6-0 and 7-0 to run away with Game 1. In all, the Macs had eight service aces.

“Starting off games well is really, really important for our team,” DeJarld said. “We just focus on getting the first five points and just kind of start going from there.

“We got ourselves really pumped up for this game. Our fans were awesome. We could not ask for any better fans.”

Game 2 was much more competitive. The RedHawks, with Anne Marie Stifter and Reilly furnishing blocks, Zaleski and Ryan swinging for kills and Yerkes leading the defense, were as close as 13-12.

“We were able to stop their offense, which was huge for us, but when it came down to us kind of putting the ball away and terminating it, it was really hard for us to find the floor on their side,” Marist coach Julie Popp Hopkins said.

“One thing we talked about, kind of keeping it more positive, these are all things we can change to make the outcome different, let’s say, a win instead of this.”

McAuley put the match away with a 12-3 stretch run that featured three kills by DeJarld and a block and a kill by Clark.

“This was one of the best experiences that I’ve ever had in my life,” Clark said. “It was so much fun. There was so much energy; I get it from no other place that I’ve played.”

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