Girls volleyball: St. Francis downs Carmel to win sectional

By Bill Pemstein
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 11/6/2019 9:31 PM

At least there were a few ties in the first set. The rest of the match consisted of blowouts.

Top-seeded Carmel Catholic and No. 2 St. Francis met for a Class 3A girls volleyball sectional crown on Wednesday night at Vernon Hills High School.


St. Francis nipped Carmel in the opening set. Carmel blitzed the Spartans in Set 2. And St. Francis returned the favor in Set 3.

St. Francis earned home court advantage for the supersectional. The Spartans emerged a winner by virtue of a 25-21, 13-25, 25-16 win over 33-game winner Carmel.

The Spartans (28-12) will return home for a 6 p.m. supersectional battle on Friday against Nazareth Academy, which defeated St. Ignatius Wednesday.

Marshall-bound Anna Calcagno again had a big game for St. Francis with 15 kills, 10 digs and 4 blocks.

"We played really well,'' Calcagno observed. "We were really efficient on offense."

Calcagno shared the offense with middle hitter Olivia Hojnicki, who added 8 kills and 3 blocks.

"I started working with this team my sophomore year,'' Hojnicki noted. "Everyone helped in this win."

Carmel (33-6) trailed early in Set 1. With libero Katlyn Sipes (17 digs) at the serving line for the Spartans, she received help from Calcagno (kill and a block), 2 kills from Cali Riggs and a block from Hojnicki, the St. Francis lead was 7-2.

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Carmel struck back with back-to-back kills from left-hander Riley Clark. The Carmel lead was 17-15. St. Francis tied it up with a block from Calcagno and a kill from Hojnicki.

St. Francis never led in the second set. With Mya Mainzer at the serving line, Annie Bart fooled the Spartans with a dump shot. Tayah Farris blocked a shot for Carmel. It was 15-9.

"When we play a clean game,'' Carmel coach Dave Pazely noted. "Our ball control was on, too. Our block was on."

Carmel libero Milana Moisio was at the serving line when the second set ended. Clark put one down. Eileen Tarcha checked in with 2 kills. And Mainzer ended the set with another kill.

So what happened to the Carmel momentum in set three?

"We made five errors in a row,'' Pazely admitted. "And St. Francis kept on making plays."

After the 5 errors, Calcagno and Hojnicki put balls down to give the Spartans a quick 7-1 lead. Like in the second set, Carmel never recovered from the slow start. On another Tarcha kill, the Spartans still led 21-15.

Hojnicki closed the match with a kill. Kennedy Riggs had 15 digs and 8 kills for the winners. Spartans setter Natalie Ingold had 30 assists and 22 digs.

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