Girls volleyball: IC Catholic overcomes Timothy Christian's fast start
Trailing crosstown rival Timothy Christian 19-13 in the first set Wednesday, IC Catholic Prep didn't lose its composure.
The Knights closed the set on a 12-3 run and rode the momentum through the second set to win the Class 2A Genoa-Kingston sectional, 25-23, 25-20.
The Knights will play Chicago Latin Friday in the Timothy Christian supersectional for a berth in the state semifinals.
Ava Falduto's 12 kills, 9 digs and 3 assists led the way for IC. Spearheading the effort for Timothy was her friend Abby Van Der Wal with 10 kills.
Falduto and Van Der Wall spent the summer playing for Team USA in international competitions, but when the fall season started they went back to representing their respective schools. IC won the regular-season matchup. Timothy Christian seemed to have things well in hand in the rematch out in Genoa, but the Knights stayed the course.
"I think the idea was staying calm and just staying together in that situation," Falduto said. "It was really chaotic and they were throwing a lot at us, but I think the fact that we just stuck together into the second set and we just went out and gave it everything we had."
Emily Carling had 5 kills and 4 digs, Lucy Russ handed out 22 assists and also had 4 kills, and Alysa Lawton came up with 7 digs for the Knights (34-3).
"It was just grinding it out," said IC coach Nancy Kerrigan. "We have a team that's been able to do that all season long. We don't get rattled. We stay levelheaded and rely on the execution of what we wanted to do. We knew sooner or later it was all going to kick in and it did. They started out very hot, right out of the gate. Then it was just settling in. Their emotions would come down and ours would come up."
Timothy raced out to a 10-3 lead in the first set. IC got within 12-10 on a Carling kill, but the Trojans pulled away again, stretching the lead to 19-13. A kill by Falduto started the Knights' closing run, which featured 8 straight points with her at the service line.
Both teams had trouble establishing momentum in the second set which at one point saw the serve pass on 13 straight points.
The Knights led 22-20 before scoring the final 3, with a Jenny Fromelt kill finishing it off.
It's always tough when friends face off against each other.
"I've played with or against Ava a lot but have never beaten her during high school season," Van Der Wal said before the match. "It's such a fun cross-town rivalry game that everyone looks forward to every year."
"We know them pretty well," Falduto said. "They know us, we know them, it's really hard playing against some of your best friends, but it's really fun."