Girls volleyball: IC Catholic, Timothy Christian part of deep 2A sectional field

The IHSA released pairings for the girls volleyball postseason last week, and the one sectional that jumps off the page at you is the Class 2A field assigned to Genoa-Kingston.

Not only does the field include the host Cogs, who are not only the defending 2A state champs but also a team with a 31-1 record this season, but the IHSA also sent IC Catholic Prep and Timothy Christian to Genoa this year. ICCP lost to Genoa in last year's state title match, and the Knights beat Timothy in a sectional final in 2022.

“Every season we start with goal-setting and often the top goal is to win the state championship,” said IC coach Nancy Kerrigan. “My players believe that to mean if they achieve this goal then they are considered the best team in the state for our division. It certainly sounds logical, right?

“As we have had to live with this for years, that logic doesn't hold in Illinois volleyball. And when you ask me how I feel about us, G-K and TC all in the same sectional, I feel sadness. This is not a sadness I am feeling sorry for my program, it is the sadness for any and all players and coaches from the two of these three teams that do not make it out of this sectional knowing that for all their hard work, effort and talent to become a top team will be cut short only because we are pitted against each other based on geography? And because of that, too many of these volleyball student athletes/teams are stripped of their opportunity to showcase their talent on the biggest stage in high school sports on the sole basis of where their school is located.

“In the end, my team understands that we have to prove ourselves the better team in every single match in the playoffs to reach our goal, whether it's the first match, last match or any match in between. Until this system is fixed for the good of volleyball in Illinois these matches, which should be played nearer to or on the biggest stage in their high school career, will occur in the middle of the week in Genoa.”

ICCP, led by Penn State recruit Ava Falduto, has had another banner season to this point. The Knights took a 24-3 mark into Thursday's showdown against St. Francis (20-7).

Timothy Christian, meanwhile, has had another fine season as well. The Metro Suburban champion Trojans were 21-5 at midweek.

“Even when taking us out of the equation, it doesn't seem right to have Genoa-Kingston and IC Catholic Prep in the same sectional,” said Timothy coach Scott Piersma. “Knowing they are the defending champion and runner-up, it seems out of place to have them meet before the semifinals at Redbird Arena, especially since both teams were heavy on juniors last year and return a lot (if not all) of their cores. Naturally from our own perspective, it gives us a tougher road as we consider ourselves a top team in Class 2A. Now that the seeds/schedules have been set, we see that G-K and IC will play in a sectional semifinal which is a full four rounds earlier than last year.

“We know we aren't alone though. For years Breese Central and Mater Dei have been battling it out in the 2A sectional round, and the likes of Mother McAuley, Marist, Benet, and Glenbard West have been running into each other in the 4A sectional rounds. Maybe it really speaks to the strength of volleyball in the western suburbs of Chicago.”

Timothy will host a supersectional that will pit the Genoa sectional winner against the Cristo Rey Jesuit sectional champ.

Class 4A outlook:

Barring upsets the top two teams in the Daily Herald Top 20, Benet and Glenbard West, are on a collision course and set to collide in the St. Charles North sectional final. The Redwings (26-2) and Hilltoppers (24-2) are also two of the top teams in this weekend's Autumnfest at Glenbard East.

“Getting downstate and trying to win another state championship is not going to be easy,” said Benet coach Brad Baker, whose team finished second to Mother McAuley last year.

“We have some very talented teams in our sectional. We have to fine-tune our offense and make sure the team is all focused in the same direction.”

More on Autumnfest:

You won't find a tougher field than the one assembled at Glenbard East this weekend.

In addition to Benet and Glenbard West, the field includes Mother McAuley, Oak Park-River Forest, Barrington, Huntley, WW South and Downers Grove North in the 24-tean field.

Pool play begins Friday at Glenbard East and St. Charles East and the championship match is set for 2:15 p.m. Saturday at Glenbard East.

Another title for Huntley:

Huntley (23-4 overall) claimed its second-straight Fox Valley Conference title on Tuesday with a two-set win over Crystal Lake South.

The Red Raiders host a sectional, with a field that includes Hononegah (20-7), Warren (20-9) and Libertyville (22-6). Huntley coach Karen Naymola said Wednesday that star junior Georgia Watson, a Kentucky commit, is questionable with a back injury.

“It's honestly going to take everyone staying healthy,” said Naymola, whose team lost to Barrington in a supersectional last year. “It's going to take our blocking and defense to be really consistent. I don't worry about our offense because we have so many options. Defense has to be at the top of their game. Then it is honestly staying healthy.”

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.