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updated: 9/5/2012 11:20 PM

St. Francis shows 'signs of beauty'

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Peg Kopec is picky about her volleyball.

As good as her St. Francis Spartans look now, she knows they haven't scratched the surface of their potential.

"We're not crisp enough yet," Kopec said, "but we show signs of beauty. We see pockets of exceptional volleyball."

Immaculate Conception couldn't argue Wednesday night, after Kopec's No. 1 Spartans quickly dispatched of the No. 20 Knights 25-9, 25-12 in a matchup of unbeatens at Wheaton's Spyglass Center.

IC, whose only lead was 2-0 in the second set, was simply overmatched against a bigger, much deeper team.

"They have a lot of options," IC coach Jean Field said. "They're a good team, they play together and Maddie Haggerty is really good."

Here is an example of how rich St. Francis (6-0, 1-0 Suburban Christian Conference Blue) is with options. Haggerty, St. Francis' star junior outside hitter, didn't put down her first kill until the Spartans' 18th point of the match. By that time four other Spartans had registered kills, and six did so in a dominant first set.

Rebecca Shearer finished with a match-high 6 kills -- 4 in the first set, Maddie Haggerty had 5, freshman sister Molly Haggerty 4 and Mary Boken 3 kills and a block.

Maddie and Molly Haggerty both showed tastes of the power they bring to the lineup with a couple high-velocity smashes that IC simply couldn't answer.

Shearer enjoys being surrounded by such a talented group.

"It's an amazing experience," Shearer said. "We work really well together."

St. Francis never trailed in the first set, after a 3-0 lead punctuated by a McKenna Kelsay ace. IC (8-1, 0-1) didn't help its cause, giving the Spartans 12 points off unforced errors.

"You can't afford to make mistakes against that team," Field said. "You have to attack and be aggressive. I thought our passing and defensve broke down a little bit. Before tonight that's been our strength."

After IC scored the first couple points of the second set, St. Francis quickly regrouped after a timeout with a 4-0 run keyed by a Boken kill and block. A Boken kill and Molly Haggerty block gave the Spartans the lead for good at 6-4. Boken and Molly Haggerty are both adjusting to new positions, Haggerty in the middle and Boken at right-side.

"We put in a new lineup tonight," Kopec said. "Our starting outside (Michelle McLaughlin) is sick in the hospital."

St. Francis could get tested more this weekend. The Spartans travel to the 24-team Crossroads Classic in Effingham, what Kopec calls a "mini-Asics Challenge."

"Instead of hearing me complaining about things, they'll see that we can't just get by playing like that," Kopec said.

Rory Manion and Delaney D'Amore had 3 kills and Liz Martino 5 assists. Despite the loss the Knights have to feel good about an 8-1 start that includes two wins over a good Timothy Christian team.

"We do a lot of really good things," Field said. "St. Francis is just a lot deeper and bigger than us."

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