Lincoln-Way North dared to dream about pulling a major upset against Mother McAuley in Tuesday’s Class 4A Sandburg Sectional semifinal.
The Phoenix even dared to hit the ball against the Mighty Macs with the force of a favorite.
Ryann DeJarld, however, served notice that an “any given night” experience was not in the cards as McAuley prevailed 25-17 25-13, to advance to Thursday’s sectional final.
DeJarld had seven aces to go along with four kills and six digs. Kayla Caffey had nine kills, Carla Cahill 12 digs, Maggie Scanlon four kills and nine digs and Kelsey Clark four kills as the Mighty Macs improved to 36-2.
Lincoln-Way North (30-6) was led by Rachel Burkman (4 kills), Brittany Pappas (4 kills, 2 blocks), Niki Wagner (7 digs) and Shannon Murphy (11 assists).
North followed up a very competitive first set by racing to a 5-2 lead in the second. Scanlon got the serve back for the Mighty Macs with a kill.
That’s when DeJarld took over, collecting five aces during a 10-0 run, each one seemingly a mile an hour faster than the previous.
“I kind of work my way into it,” DeJarld said, smiling. “You know, you don’t want to start off with your toughest serve. You want to be progressive and keep going.
“I wasn’t really thinking about getting a string, I was just trying to get them in and play the game.”
Caffey also had two quick-set kills during the run, which pretty much took the fight out of North.
Earlier, however, the Phoenix was swinging freely, recording six kills in its first nine points of Set 1. It stayed close until the Mighty Macs, ahead just 18-15, went on a 4-0 run.
“I think the first (set) we played them well, but we have to pass,” North coach Mary Brown said. “If we could pass, we could beat them. But our passing completely fell apart in the second.
“I thought we blocked them well, but they’ve got some big girls and they were pounding the ball. They served us very aggressive. Ryann (DeJarld’s) serve is just amazing.”