Mount Assisi coach Karen Van Assen had a first Sunday night when the Eagles held their postseason banquet.
The problem? They’re still playing.
“It was the first time we’ve had the banquet and the season is still going,” Van Assen said Monday with a laugh. “It turned into a ‘rah-rah!’ kind of thing, ‘Let’s get to the Sweet Sixteen!’ The girls understand they have to come out focused in practice and the match.”
Mount Assisi (19-18) faces Fieldcrest at 6 p.m. Tuesday in an El Paso-Gridley Sectional semifinal. The IHSA removed Mount Assisi’s enrollment multiplier this season, moving the Eagles from 3A to 2A this season because the program had not won a regional title since 2008.
Van Assen’s squad is making the most of it, the senior quartet of Kelly Magliano, Anna Broadhurst, MaryKate Wetzel and Jessica Jakubowski leading the way. The four seniors all are three-year starters.
“Our key is those four girls,” Van Assen said. “If those girls are up and ready to play, so is the rest of the team. They have so much varsity experience, and everyone looks up to them.”
In getting to the sectional, Van Assen saw her team make a simple realization, one she hopes rolls over to Tuesday.
“They were nervous, scared to death because it is new territory, but they know winning is doable,” Van Assen said. “We can totally do it. It’s a much better feeling to come out and play hard. We try to take it one game at a time, but this time of year, it’s exciting.”
Interesting semis at Coal City
While Joliet Catholic vs. St. Francis will be the marquee matchup at Tuesday’s Class 3A Coal City Sectional semifinals, the other semifinal bears watching.
Lincoln-Way West, coming off its first regional title in program history, will play host Coal City, the Coalers coming off their first regional title since 2006. St. Francis and Joliet Catholic meet in the playoffs for the eighth straight season.
Player of the Week
Madison Wyss, of Seneca, is the Herald-News Girls Volleyball Player of the Week.
Wyss, a junior outside hitter and setter, had 10 assists, 11 service points, seven aces and five digs in Seneca’s regional semifinal win over Serena.
In the championship game, Wyss finished with 10 service points, eight assists and four aces.