Three times last season.
Once already this season.
Wheaton St. Francis junior Molly Haggerty was just a little sick and tired of losing to Mother McAuley.
“Obviously they’re a very good team,” Haggerty said. “But we know that we played not that well against them the first time (in 2014).”
Saturday, following a 25-19, 16-25, 25-21 victory over the Mighty Macs in the title match at the Rich East Invitational, the Spartans were in a much different state of mind.
“Playing well against them (Saturday) obviously felt a lot better than losing,” a smiling Haggerty said. “We’re just really happy with how we played.”
Haggerty led the way for St. Francis (20-1) with 12 kills. Mary Boken added 10 kills and three blocks, Kamryn Malloy eight kills, Lisa Mordell nine digs, Daniele Messa 31 assists and Delaney Malloy four blocks.
Mother McAuley (16-3) was led by Ryann DeJarld (15 kills, 9 digs), Kayla Caffey (12 kills), Jane DeJarld (35 assists, 8 digs), Kelsey Clark (8 kills), Carla Cahill (13 digs) and Kennedy Arundel (7 digs, 3 kills).
The Spartans, who lost 25-16, 25-20 to McAuley on Sept. 9, got an early jump this time, and it seemed to buoy their confidence.
Mordell, in particular, was able to for the most part keep McAuley’s feared serving game in check, and her good passes allowed the offense to set up for multiple strikes.
In Game 1, the tide turned for good when Boken put down a kill to start the Spartans on a late run that helped them break away from what had been a precarious 18-17 lead.
McAuley, however, showed resilience, bouncing back in Game 2 behind a flurry of quick-set kills by Caffey and Clark. Ryann DeJarld also worked the outside well as the Mighty Macs led from start to finish.
In Game 3, McAuley led 8-5 when Messa put down a kill and Delaney Malloy followed with a block for kill, igniting a six-point burst by the Spartans – the largest by either team for the match.
McAuley, later chasing a 21-18 deficit, closed back into a 21-all tie on kills by Caffey and Ryann DeJarld and an ace by Arundel.
The final momentum switch, however, would go to St. Francis.
Boken started it with a kill, and Messa followed with another. Boken blocked a quick-set spike by Caffey for point 24, before Haggerty ended the match with a kill.
“We’ve been working for this for a long time,” Boken said. “Basically, at the end it was all mental, heart and soul. We had a few errors at the end, but we just kept our composure and fought through it.
“I’ve been on varsity for four years and haven’t beaten them until today. It feels good.”
It was McAuley’s first loss to an Illinois team since 2012.
“(St. Francis) played a great game, and they were ready to come out against us, and we just weren’t (ready),” Ryann DeJarld said. “They had control of the game at some points and we did, too. So that wasn’t a problem. They just limited their errors better than we did.”
Marist (12-4), behind 10 kills by Anne Marie Stifter and 27 assists, 10 digs and seven kills by Lizzie Zaleski captured third place in the A Division via a 24-26, 25-10, 25-21 victory over Providence (15-8).
In the B Division championship match, Lyons defeated Shepard 25-16, 25-22. Riverside-Brookfield captured the C Division crown with a 25-20, 22-25, 25-20 win over Lockport, while Andrew defeated Stagg for the D Division title 25-20, 25-14.