Girls volleyball: Carmel, St. Francis to meet for sectional title
Grayslake North girls volleyball coach, Jim Sarver had done his homework.
"That big girl is going to Marshall,''' Sarver said. "She's a Division I talent."
That big girl is named Anna Calcagno. She plays outside hitter for St. Francis. On Monday night, she had 10 kills, 5 digs and 2 blocks.
Sarver's team had the quick start, however. With Abby Cunningham at the serving line, a kill from Alyssa Gerzel and a block from Emma Hochstein gave the Knights a 6-2 lead.
There were 7 ties in the first set but St. Francis eventually dominated and will advance to Wednesday night's Class 3A sectional final against top-seeded Carmel after a 25-17, 25-14 win over the best team in school history at Grayslake North.
"That should be an exciting match,'' Calcagno predicted of Wednesday's title match.
Calcagno ended the early surge by softly putting the ball over the net.
The last tie in the opening set was 16-16.
Katlyn Sipes was at the serving line for the Spartans. Calcagno put down a block and kill and St. Francis was up front. Sierra Zygmunt was next at the line. She used a block from Olivia Hojnicki and a kill from Kennedy Riggs to end the set.
There was one tie in the second set. It was at 5-5. St. Francis setter Natalie Ingold (19 assists, 6 digs) likes her position.
"I like to help my team,'' she noted.
With Ingold at the serving line, she registered an ace and St. Francis (27-12) was up 13-8.
Calcagno was at the serving line when the match concluded. She notched a pair of aces and even had a kill.
St. Francis coach Lisa Ston watched her Wednesday night foe in the first match. Carmel is the No. 1 seed; Ston's team is No. 2
"They are very good on offense,'' Ston said of the Corsairs.
Sarver has to say goodbye to seven seniors.
"It was an unbelievable season,'' Sarver added. "We had 17 players on our team. We had to because of all of our injuries. But we went 14-2 without some of our best players."
North had the first winning volleyball season in the program's history and finished 25-13.
Carmel d. Deerfield: The top-seeded Corsairs advanced to Wednesday's championship match with a 25-23, 25-16 win over Deerfield in the night's first match at Vernon Hills.
The first set was a back-and-forth battle until Carmel was able to finish things off with a clutch block from Tayah Farris.
In the second set, some great serving from Mya Mainzer opened up a lead for Carmel early and the Corsairs never looked back. Milana Moisio went on another run to extend that lead and Carmel comfortably closed out the match.
"Some big changes between games 1 and 2 were our blockers making more plays, our ball control getting us in system better and our hitters mixing up their shots to keep Deerfield's defense off balance, said Carmel coach Dave Pazely.
Leading Carmel (33-5) to the win were Annie Bart (5 kills, 7 digs, 1 ace), Shannon Brennan (8 assists, 2 kills, 6 digs), Riley Clark (4 kills, 3 blocks, 3 digs), Ally DiBartolo (4 digs), Kaitlyn Donton (15 assists, 3 digs), Tayah Farris (3 kills, 4 blocks, 1 dig), Mainzer (3 kills, 1 ace, 4 blocks, 1 dig), Moisio (20 digs, 5 assists, 2 kills, 1 ace), Sydney Rini (3 digs) and Eileen Tarcha (10 kills, 11 digs, 1 assist).
"Milana Moisio had another huge game with 20 digs and Eileen Tarcha had a huge game with 10 kills and 11 digs, "Pazely said. "A special shout out to Mya Mainzer as she earned her career block number 172, which is a Carmel record. "We know that St. Francis has some serious firepower and we will need to be at our best in order to win a sectional championship on Wednesday."