Kira Conroy

While the Metro Suburban Conference may not officially recognize them as co-Red Division champions, Riverside-Brookfield High School girls volleyball players know what they’ve accomplished.

The Bulldogs (13-19) earned their share of the title by defeating Westmont 25-19, 25-18 in their conference finale Oct. 18.

Senior Kira Conroy also broke the single-season school record for digs during the victory.

The next day, the Bulldogs (13-19, 5-1) were informed that Bishop McNamara (15-14, 5-1) would be recognized as the MSC Red champion because of the 13-25, 25-22, 28-26 head-to-head victory over the Bulldogs on Sept. 13 in Kankakee.

“I feel like we did everything we could have done after we played [Bishop McNamara],” senior Reagan Mulcrone said. “We played great every other game so that made up for that. Our loss didn’t really affect how we played any of our other conference games.”

In MSC Red play, the Bulldogs had the best overall record for sets won (11-2) over Bishop McNamara (11-4), winning all of their matches in two sets while the Irish won two in three. The Irish lost to Aurora Christian in three sets Sept. 27.

First-year RBHS coach Caitlin Staib-Lipinski and the Bulldogs initially were led to believe that overall sets record would the tiebreaker.

“The way it was explained to me was they only wanted one team on each side of the conference to be a champion,” Staib-Lipinski said. “[Bishop McNamara] was a very early match and we were still working on positions. I’d love to play (them) again, but it doesn’t work that way in this conference.” 

Conroy’s 15 digs carried her past the previous single-season record of 355 digs. After the Bulldogs’ Oct. 20 loss to Chicago Christian, Conroy now has 375.

Other standouts in the Westmont victory were Sofia Owens (7 kills), Mulcrone and Anasofia Zaper (6 kills each), Annabel Krueger (15 assists, 2 aces), Elise Verdin (3 aces) and Claire Cameron (8 assists).

Conroy found out hours before the match that she needed eight digs to tie the record. Mulcrone said Staib-Lipinski informed other players during warmups.

“I was trying to count them during the game, but I lost track,” Conroy said.

The approaching record nearly took Staib-Lipinski by surprise after recording and entering a large group of stats following a weekend tournament.

Just this season, Staib-Lipinski worked on getting a girls volleyball record board posted in the main gym.

“It was pretty meaningful and I’m pretty happy that I’m going to be having my name up there next to Dana Rettke’s,” Conroy said.

Mulcrone also added to being among the top conference players in attack percentage, collecting six kills in nine attacks with no errors. She shares fourth on the team with senior Christina Savaglio with 71 total kills but in just 132 attacks with 16 errors for a .417 percentage.

“We played really good. It was a good way to end our season in this [home gym],” Mulcrone said.

No. 12-seeded RBHS began Class 4A Whitney Young Regional play against the host No. 5 Dolphins on Oct. 25 with hopes of reaching the Oct. 27 regional final.