Girls volleyball: Stevenson outlasts Carmel

Updated 11/3/2015 10:33 PM

The third time took a trio of sets and was decided by 3 points.

Which was fitting, if not fabulous.

"We knew it was going to be a scramble," coach Tim Crow said after his Stevenson girls volleyball team outlasted No. 6 Carmel Catholic 25-16, 25-27, 25-22 in the Class 4A Libertyville sectional semifinals Tuesday night. "(Carmel) is very scrappy. They manufacture points off tooling and tipping and doing all of those things."

No. 2 Stevenson (30-8) now gets a third chance at Libertyville (33-5), which defeated Lakes in two competitive sets, in Thursday's 6 p.m. final. The top-seeded Wildcats are 2-0 against the Patriots this season.

Stevenson's win over Carmel (23-15) avenged last year's loss in the sectional semifinals. The two teams also met in the sectional semifinals two years ago, with Stevenson winning.

"I think we were just really motivated by the fact that we lost last year in the sectional game to Carmel," Stevenson outside hitter Isabella Milejczyk said. "It was our fuel. We knew we couldn't put our heads down (after the second set) and just let them win, because they would."

Milejczyk and teammate Jori Radtke pounded a match-best 14 kills apiece. Milejczyk heated up in the middle of the decisive set, hitting 7 winners as well as recording a block.

"She does that," Crow said of the senior. "She can get a streak and go. She can do different things. She can hit line well, she can hit cross well, and she can feel the block really well. Once she gets in that flow, and (setter) Corissa (Kurth) has that good tempo with her, good things happen for us."

Kurth finished with 37 assists (61 of 63).

"I think the key was definitely my setter," Milejczyk said. "She was pushing them out to the pin, and I was just swinging line. And we were running a faster ball on the passes from our libero, Morgan (Berland). She was everywhere, getting everything. It was a whole team effort."

The hard-hitting Radtke took over the opening set, recording 6 kills, as the Patriots overcame 4 service errors.

Stevenson held a 23-20 advantage in the second set, but Elizabeth Tworek drilled an ace to pull Carmel even, and the Corsairs eventually prevailed on Allie Wayland's ace.

"We made a lot of mistakes (in the first set), but apparently we got that out of our system," Carmel coach Dave Pazely said. "Then the rest of the match we showed that we can play."

Carmel had a 16-11 lead in the third, before Radtke served for five straight points, which included 2 kills and a block by Milejczyk. With the score tied at 19-19, Carmel was called for being out of rotation. The Corsairs also had two close calls on hits go in Stevenson's favor.

"I know it's a fast game and all that," Pazely said. "But when it's a three-point game in the third set, those calls matter."

Berland racked up 31 digs for the Patriots. Stevenson also got a big effort from senior right side Jordyn Taborek, who put down 6 kills.

"She's been unbelievable this season for us getting points at critical times, whether it's a kill or block," Crow said of Taborek. "That's been huge."

Crow said his Patriots didn't play their best, and they will need to be better if they are going to beat Libertyville on its home court and advance to Saturday night's Grayslake Central supersectional.

Carmel will graduate 10 players, including star libero Tworek, who on Monday committed to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Sophomore Erin Taylor led the Corsairs with 7 kills, while Cate Halverson added 5 kills and 6 blocks. Grace Butler collected 18 assists and 13 digs.

"The team came together at the end of the season," Pazely said. "They started to really believe that, even though some of our regular-season games didn't go the way we wanted, as long as we continued to fight and give ourselves a chance, we were a solid group."

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