Montini tunes up for St. Francis with sweep of Aurora Christian

SHARE Montini tunes up for St. Francis with sweep of Aurora Christian

Judging by the way Montini started Monday’s match against visiting Aurora Christian, you would think the Broncos wanted to get home in time to watch the start of the Bears game.

“That was our incentive, actually,” Montini outside hitter Monica Loftus said. “In that first game we were pretty flawless and our energy was very big.”

Montini won the first game of the Suburban Christian Conference tilt in 15 minutes and cruised to a 25-5, 25-18 victory in Lombard. That gives the Broncos some momentum going into Wednesday’s first-place showdown at St. Francis.

“We all worked together,” Montini junior setter Gina Cappetta said. “Everyone had confidence. Focus was a big key. I think every pass we had was on point from our liberos and defensive specialists.”

The two sides engaged in some long rallies early in Game 1 but the Broncos (11-7, 2-0) won all of them. They scored the first seven points on Mary Long’s serve, while the last three points all came on aces, including two from fellow defensive specialist Callie Hopkins.

Aurora Christian (8-8, 0-2) also played well defensively, with MaKayla Beebe making 11 digs in a futile effort to blunt Montini’s attack.

[Beebe] had a great game,” Aurora Christian coach Allison Nyberg said. “She was laying out for balls everywhere. Our defense was working hard the whole time. Our block and our digging in the back row was excellent.”

The same couldn’t be said for the Eagles’ attack. They were held without a kill in Game 1 and didn’t get their first of the night until the 46th point. Three of their points in the opener came via Montini service errors.

“Our hitters were playing a little tentatively, kind of playing not to lose instead of playing to win, so that really hurt us in the beginning,” Nyberg said. “We just had a slow start and mentally kind of let them in our heads.

“The second game we played much better. That’s obviously how we want to come out from the beginning, so it was a little bit too late by the time we did pick up our game.”

Indeed, Montini had a 5-0 lead in Game 2 before the Eagles came alive. Natalie Hayes tied the game on a kill and Aurora Christian took its only lead, 13-12, on a Montini hitting error.

But a serving error gave the Broncos the ball back and Mary Bowe spiked a pair of kills to put Montini back in front.

That triggered an 8-2 run, during which Cappetta fed Loftus for four of her 11 kills.

“We’ve got a good connection,” Cappetta said. “We know what’s going on and I know I have a person I can depend on.”

Cappetta had 21 assists, which she spread among seven hitters. This is her first season running a 5-1 offense.

“I love it,” Cappetta said. “I love being on court the whole time, taking control and running the offense as much as I can. We’ve got a lot of depth on the team, so that’s good.”

Bowe had kills and two blocks for the Broncos, while Long added 11 digs and Jennifer Marten seven digs.

Hayes and Emily Ward each had two kills to pace Aurora Christian, which won the Westminster Christian tournament on Saturday.

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