Big sister watching at supersectionals
Caroline Niski couldn't have been prouder of her baby sister Meghan after St. Charles East's Class 4A supersectional match against Crystal Lake South Saturday.
The younger Niski, a freshman outside hitter, had the match of her high school career when she posted 15 kills in the Saints' 20-25, 25-23, 25-17 win over the Gators at Elgin for the right to advance to the state girls volleyball tournament next weekend at Redbird Arena in Bloomington-Normal.
"I'm so excited for (Meghan)," Caroline Niski said. "Coming in, we were all so nervous. We didn't know what to expect, we didn't know anything about this team. We knew they were good, but she was so nervous too. She played awesome. She was just able to get over her nerves and play her heart out."
"I just wanted to hit the ball so hard," Meghan Niski added. "I just had so much energy. I just wanted to win so bad. I wanted to do anything I could to help the team."
Caroline Niski also finished with 15 kills, but this sort of dominance is expected from the junior who has posted hard-hitting kills all season. Same goes for Jacqui Seidel, who led the Saints with 17 kills. Both juniors landed a spot on the all-area team.
Saturday, however, was Meghan's turn to shine. Senior two-time All-Area captain Laura Homann couldn't stop raving about the sweet-faced spike machine. The Syracuse-bound setter was confident every time she set one up for Meghan, she wouldn't be disappointed.
"Meghan was such a stud today," said Homann, who finished with 41 assists. "Every time I set the ball, I knew she was going to get the kill. It was like that with all the hitters today."
Meghan Niski's best performance against the Gators was in Game 3, where she had about half of her kills, including a handful in the stretch the Saints built their biggest lead of the match. Her game-ending kill in the second game was also huge. There were 8 ties in Game 2, but her efforts helped put away a persistent Gator team who battled in the first game.
With the win, the Saints (36-4) return to the state meet for the second consecutive year. The Saints will play Evanston at 6:30 p.m. Friday in the semifinals.
Meghan was a witness to all the success St. Charles East had last year, but was still in eighth grade. By the time she entered high school, she wasn't sure she would make varsity, but St. Charles East coach Jennie Kull gave her and fellow freshman Maisey Mulvey the nod. Now the two starters get to experience state as players, not viewers.
Best of all for the Niski sisters, they still have another year together next season after the fun of state - win or lose - is completed.
"It feels so unreal right now going to state," Meghan Niski said. "I'm just so excited and happy. I'm so just so overwhelmed."