For the past five years, Fenwick girls volleyball coach Eileen Asmussen has guided her team to the sectional final.

And each season, the Friars (29-10) have run into a familiar foe in sectional action-Lyons Township.

That was the case again last week as the Lions knocked off Fenwick 25-22, 26-24 to claim their fourth sectional crown in five years.

“I will admit, I am getting tired of seeing Lyons in the playoffs,” Asmussen laughed. “We used to have to play Queen of Peace or Mother McAuley. But when they regrouped the sectionals, we’ve run into Lyons every year in the sectional final.”

After dropping Game 1, Asmussen’s crew was one point away from forcing a third game. But a number of unforced errors down the stretch ended the Friars’ run.

“I wish we could have forced a third game, because I think the outcome may have been different,” Asmussen said. “I thought the games were evenly matched, and we had our chances.

“But you can’t give a good team extra chances. Our passing and serve-receive broke down. They were serving us tough, too.”

Clare Liston paced the Friars’ attack with 14 kills. The 6-foot junior added 10 digs, while Liz O’Brien had nine kills. Colleen Quaid handed out 22 assists, while Emily Slavik (16 digs) and Melissa Steen (three blocks) also contributed.

“We came into the match focused on keeping our composure,” Asmussen said. “We wanted to serve-receive well and try to hit through the middle.

“I thought we did a good job for the most part of trying to accomplish those things. If two or three points would’ve gone our way, the outcome would have been different.”

While it’s always tough to say goodbye to quality seniors, Asmussen is optimistic with the group of underclassmen coming back.

“We have seven players coming back,” Asmussen said. “We should be good.”

One of the key components returning is Liston, who hammered down some thunderous kills in the loss to Lyons.

“She’s a natural athlete,” Asmussen said. “Her and Liz were great this season. “When you look at their stats, they were almost identical. Liz had 305 kills and Clare had 291. It’s going to be tough to replace Liz, but I’m excited to have Clare coming back. Hopefully, she’s only going to get better.”