The players on most sophomore and junior varsity teams dream of the day when they can play before crowds of 2,000.
The JV squads from Marist and Mother McAuley got to have the experience for real Sept. 16, when the McAuley gym was just about filled by the time they took the court for their match.
“At first it looked a little bit intimidating,” Mighty Macs defensive specialist Emma Wozniak said. “We’re not used to that kind of crowd. But we got our minds set and took everything in.
“It was very exciting, especially with the crowd. You just can’t let all of the energy get to you. You’ve got to stay focused and keep your mind set on the goal — pushing points.”
They put on a show worthy of a varsity match between two ranked teams, with McAuley roaring back from a Set 3 24-18 deficit to win 29-27.
Abby O’Brien and Veronica Koos both had nine kills and Jane DeJarld 25 assists to lead the Macs. Emily Graff had 16 kills, Megan Krasowski 10 kills and Haley Belcik 20 digs for Marist.
“I think it was great for them and the girls from both teams rose to the occasion,” Marist JV coach Monica Lang said. “For them to be able to feel that, to be able to play with that intensity in this atmosphere, just makes them that much more mature for any match in the future.”
Lincoln-Way Central won the Asics Preview title Saturday at McAuley in a most dramatic manner.
The Knights trailed Crystal Lake South 18-7 in Set 3 when Maria Brown stepped up after a timeout to put down three consecutive kills. The momentum shift that followed carried them to a 25-15, 23-25, 25-23 victory.
“I love the resilience and never give up mentality of this team,” Knights coach Kathy Sulkowski said. “They had a huge comeback against Shepard a few weeks ago in the third set as well.
“Their will to win is one of the strongest I have ever coached. I’m excited to see how they progress this season because if we continue steadily improving, we could be a team to watch come the state playoffs.”
Player of the Week
Maria Brown, of Lincoln-Way Central, is the SouthtownStar Girls Volleyball Player of the Week.
Brown, a senior outside hitter, had 59 kills for the week, including 18 in the championship match victory over Crystal Lake South at the Asics Preview.