St. Francis might not have been at its best Monday night, but the Spartans volleyball players did manage to have plenty of fun.
You see winning is fun, and so is sporting new "Spartan Dynasty" camouflage jerseys on a "Duck Dynasty" theme night. St. Francis did both of those Monday while knocking off visiting IC Catholic Prep 25-19, 25-16.
"We like to make it fun so we did a 'Duck Dynasty' theme and we threw (toy) ducks into the crowd," said senior libero Sam Dubiel, who had 13 assists and a number of timely digs against the Knights. "This is our second-to-last home game and we like to make it fun."
While the Spartans' intensity may not have matched their fun on this night, some type of letdown coming off the weekend is not too surprising. St. Francis took third at the Asics Challenge after an emotional 30-28 Game 3 loss to Mother McAuley in the tourney semifinals Saturday.
"We played good defense, but I think we could have shown a little bit more energy and intensity in this game," Dubiel said. "We were trying to get excited, but it wasn't our usual intensity."
Even so, the 27-3 Spartans held off their Suburban Christian Conference foes behind a balanced attack paced by 8 kills apiece from Molly Haggerty and Becca Shearer and 5 more winners from middle hitter Mary Boken.
"Coming off a really big weekend and another emotional match with McAuley, it's a little different and we came out a little flat," said St. Francis coach Peg Kopec, whose team fell to Mother McAuley in the semis this weekend before improving to 8-0 in the conference with Monday's win.
Kopec presented flowers to Knights coach Jean Field, whose squad is leaving for the Metro Suburban Conference after this season, ending a conference rivalry between the coaches that dates back almost 40 years.
ICCP was slowed a bit as outside threat Delaney D'Amore couldn't man her usual right-side post as strongly as usual due to a sore back, yet the Knights trailed just 10-9 in Game 1 following a winner by Rory Manion, who had a match-high 10 kills. But St. Francis was just too big and tough to contain, and big smashes from Shearer and Haggerty tallied the final two points as the hosts took the opener 25-19.
"Rory played well, but she's been doing that for us all season," said Field, whose team dropped to 19-6 overall and 3-3 in league action. "For now we just need to stay healthy and get ready for the (Aurora Christian) regionals."