St. Francis coach Peg Kopec was ready to deal.
Take a handful of her Spartans' points from Game 1 and let her use them in Game 2.
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Game 1 looked so easy for the Spartans, but by now they know no match is easy against Joliet Catholic, and Thursday's Class 3A Rosary sectional final was no different. The Angels defeated St. Francis 11-25, 25-20, 25-18 in Aurora, eliminating the Spartans (31-8) from the postseason for a third consecutive year.
"You get pretty revved up and then you're kind out of control, and that's what they did the first game," Kopec said of Joliet Catholic. "They settled down the second and third and we started making mistakes.
"It's disappointing. I wish we would have been able to borrow some of those points from the first game. How about that? I've got a deal for you. I'll take 7 or 8 of those ... and it doesn't work that way."
The Angels (32-7) played the first game like they were trying not to make any mistakes, and in the process they made a bunch. Before they knew it St. Francis led 11-1 and then 22-6.
"I give them credit, they were tough," Joliet Catholic coach Christine Scheibe said of the Spartans. "They were scrambling. They came out ready to play. We came out not-so-ready to play."
"We came out a little slow," added Joliet Catholic outside hitter Morgan Reardon, who finished with 9 kills. "We weren't really fighting hard. But we just decided to come out in the second and third game and play with everything we had."
The Angels did just that, forgetting quickly about the first game. They took their first lead of the match at 8-7 in Game 2 on a Jordan Huston kill and didn't trail the rest of the night. By the third game the roles seemed to have been reversed. The Spartans fell behind 6-1 in the third game, and soon it was 16-7.
"We made an awful lot of errors," Kopec said. "And they did not. And they played very well."
The Spartans tried to rally for their season a couple of times but could get no closer than 18-13. The two-time defending Class 3A champion Angels answered every challenge.
"They're a really good team and it's come down to us playing them a while now to go to state," Reardon said. "We just want to keep beating them. They're just such a great team, it was really hard."
Meg Vonderhaar finished with 10 kills and 3 aces for the Spartans. Grace Churney had 5 kills and Daiva Wise added 4 kills. Kelly Reinke had 22 assists, and Gina Madonia had 9 digs.