Girls volleyball: Calcagno, St. Francis beat Montini in three games
St. Francis senior outside hitter Anna Calcagno is missing one key element on her high school volleyball resume.
As a four-year varsity starter, Calcagno has already established herself as one of the best players in the Chicago area. She wrapped up her recruiting before her senior season by committing to Marshall in late April.
So what's missing?
"I came to St. Francis to win state," Calcagno said. "That's the end goal. Last year we lost in the supersectionals, but this year we're coming back ready to go."
Calcagno did her part in a 16-25, 25-18, 25-16 comeback win over Montini on Tuesday. She recorded 16 kills to spark the Spartans.
Playing in front of former St. Francis legendary coach Peg Kopec, Calcagno said she's focused on ending the program's state title drought. Calcagno was an eighth-grader when Kopec closed out her illustrious career with a Win No. 1,238 -- a two-set victory over Glenbard West for a Class 3A title on Nov. 14, 2015.
"I was with (that team) on the road to state, but I didn't make the trip down," Calcagno said.
After playing an error-filled first game, the Spartans (5-2) cleaned up their mistakes and relied on the big hitting of Calcagno.
Calli Riggs added 6 kills, Kennedy Riggs and Olivia Hojnicki both had 5 kills while Natalie Ingold tallied 19 assists and Elise Ward contributed 18 assists. Katlyn Sipes finished with 12 digs for the Spartans.
The Spartans immediately fell into a 3-0 hole and trailed 17-12 before making some key adjustments.
"Thus far, we have not been a great first set team and have struggled out of the box this year," St. Francis coach Lisa Ston said. "They just have to get in their groove and it takes them a little bit to do that. The second set, we knew their outsides were their go-to players and tried to adjust to stopping them and get Anna more into the offense, so she could be more explosive.
Calcagno led the comeback with two key kills midway through the second game to help the Spartans pull away 14-11. In the third game she had three kills in a 4-point sequence to give the Spartans a cushion at 22-11.
"Her play from this year to last year is night and day," Ston said of Calcagno. "She's stepping up immensely for us, and is leading our team very well this year."
Montini (7-5) rode the momentum from winning a long volley on the opening point to cruise to a first-game victory.
Paige Pickering paced the Broncos with 13 kills and Julia Marciniak added 7. Reeghan Boyer collected 13 digs and Tess Noonan had 24 assists.
"We just started playing slow," Montini coach Steve Dowjotas said. "That first game we were clean … . It's always tough when you beat someone pretty good in that first game because you always have that lull. They came out and they were ready to play in that second game and we were not. They made adjustments and we did not."