Usually, it is good to repeat?”not for Lyons Township, however.
Naperville Central (35-4 overall) utilized its height and power to defeat the Lions 25-16, 25-19 in the Girls AA Volleyball Super-sectional on Monday night. The loss marked the second-straight year that LT has advanced to the super-sectional and lost.
“Last year, we lost in the super-sectional to Mother McAuley, but Mother McAuley went on to win the State championship,” said LT coach Joann Pyritz. “Still, it’s tough to lose two years in a row. But, we have many kids returning next year and many of those kids will now have played in two super-sectionals. If we can get to a third one next year maybe we can have better control of things and really make a good run.”
As for the Naperville match, the Lions started well in the first game, but with the score deadlocked at 13-13, Naperville began to assert its size at the net. While LT (31-10) utilized its off-speed service to try and keep Naperville on the defensive, the Lions simply did not match up against Naperville at the net. Because of the offensive assault by the Huskies in the first game, the Lions began the second game on their heels. Despite a late, second-game rally, LT did not recover. Chelsey Christoff paced LT with six kills.
“In the second game, we scored 19 points, but it really was too little, too late,” Pyritz said. “Naperville was sitting on 22 points for awhile and their offense was just too good to spot that many points.”
While Naperville Central’s height and power at the net was formidable, it was the play of its middles that proved to be the X-factor in the win.
“We knew we had to play our best match to win and we knew had to take care of the setter and outside hitter,” said Pyritz. “But their middles really stepped up and were a big force. That really pushed Naperville over the edge. If we have a weakness, it is that we don’t have huge kids across the front of then net and they had too much power.”
Still, Pyritz is buoyed by the fact that she returns not only talented squad next year, but an experienced one. Pyritz will lose seniors Kathy Conners, Lindsay Rapacki and Christoff, but Christy Landschoot will return at center and Claire Reeder at middle. Rachel August, Katherine Skeels, Megan Schilling, Jill Keeve, Kathryn Tuerk and Amanda Cummings will all return as outside hitters. Kara Keating and Allison Salerno will return as defensive specialists, as will setter Ashley August.
LT defeated Fenwick 25-13, 25-13 in the Oak Park Sectional last week.