An excellent girls volleyball season has officially come to a close. The state playoffs at Redbird Arena this past weekend had everything you could ask for and then some.
Numerous teams made their first appearance in the state finals, state records were broken, and it was all capped off with one of the best volleyball matches of the year between Minooka, and the eventual 4A champions, Marist.
You can relive all the action here.
Marist def. Minooka
(22-25, 25-22, 25-15)
It was only fitting that the most entertaining volleyball game of the year was the 4A championship match.
Marist managed to keep calm under pressure and rallied in the last set, while numerous hitting errors ended up being the downfall of Minooka, who finished the match with a hitting percentage of .071.
Savannah Thompson had an incredible final match, finishing her career with 14 kills, 13 digs, a block and an ace.
“This is the moment that every player wishes for,” said Thompson. “To be with these girls right now and have this dream come true is a once in a lifetime thing. I am so glad I am here right now and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
Raquel Perinar and Allison Papesh had 12 and 11 kills respectively in the loss.
Althoff Catholic def. Resurrection
Resurrection’s run to a state title came up just short, but despite the loss, it was still the best finish for any team in school history.
Head coach of Resurrection Mike Sopocy said: “This means absolutely everything. The only other state finish we had was in bowling I think. These girls cemented themselves as the best team in school history.”
“It honestly doesn’t even feel like we’re here,” added senior outside hitter Brittany Welch. “When we won Super Sectionals it didn’t even feel like it, we just wanted to keep going and going. I think it will hit us come Monday afternoon and there’s nothing to do,”
Yet again, it was Althoff’s balanced attack that secured the victory. Six players had four or more kills, with Karinna Gall’s eight leading the way.
Senior Brittany Welch went out with a bang for Resurrection. On the weekend she totalled 27 kills and 25 digs.
“She’s already considered one of the best players in Illinois,” said Sopocy on his senior outside. “I’ve known her since she’s started and I guarantuee you in four years she’s going to be one of the best players in the country.
St. Thomas More def. Quincy Notre Dame
(18-25, 25-19, 25-21)
After a dominating performance the previous night, St. Thomas More started out the state championship match extremely slow, dropping the first set to Notre Dame.
But the Sabres battled back behind All-American Mica Allison, who had 12 kills, 12 assists, five digs two blocks and an ace. Middle hitter Allie Trame also had a good match for St. Thomas More, hitting .421 with 10 kills.
Sophomore Sydney Hummert had the most kills for Notre Dame in the loss with 12.
Payson Seymour def. Winsdor-Stewardson-Strasburg
After being bottled up in the semifinals, Josie Sanford came alive in the championship match for Seymour as she put away 13 kills at a 46% clip. Hylee Schmiedeskap also had double digit kills for the Inidians with 10.
Megan Schlechte was unable to replicate her record breaking effort of the semifinals, and only managed to muster up six kills in the title match.
Winsdor-Stwardson-Strasburg def. Durand
27-25, 24-26, 25-19
The first record setting match occurred in just the second game of the first session. The long three set match allowed Megan Schlechte of WSS to break the IHSA state playoff record with an incredible 29 kills, surpassing the previous record of 28 kills set in 1996.
Making the feat even more impressive, the previous record was set while side out scoring was still in effect.
Also breaking a state record was Mackenzi Tabbert who dished out 48 assists a new class 1A record since the four class system was adopted.
Durand were paced by Katie Asche, 15 kills and 3 blocks and McKenzie Damon, 11 kills, in the loss.
Seymour def. Newark
Kamryn Flesner led the way for Seymour with 12 kills on only 19 attacks. Hylee Schmiedenskamp and Riley Epperson added six kills each, and Cassie Edison dished out 26 assists.
Freshman Madi Malone led Newark with eight kills in the loss.
St. Thomas More def. Harvest Christian
Leading the way for St. Thomas More was All-American setter/right side hitter Mica Allison with, nine kills and nine assists. As a team, St. Tomas More had a hitting percentage of .434 and a sided out at a 70% clip.
Amanda Cassidy of Harvest Christian had nine kills of her own, and libero Candis Kaplan had nine digs in the loss.
Quincy Notre Dame def. Newton
Quincy received contributions from all of their front row players in the win. Taylor Keck led the way with seven kills, Sydney Hummert added six, and Monica Brown chipped in with five.
In the loss, Abby Frohning led all players with 15 kills.
Althoff Catholic def. University High school (Normal)
After losing in the semifinals last season, Althoff returned to Redbird Arena to take care of businsess.
Six of their players had at least four kills, with Karinna Gall leading the way had with seven. Setter Louise Comerford had a great all around game with 18 assists five kills and five digs.
Macy Tongate had five kills for U-High in the loss.
Resurrection def. St. Viator
(30-32, 25-23, 25-18)
Both teams made quite the entrance in their first ever state tournament appearance, setting a new class 3A IHSA record for most points scored by both teams in a match with 153.
Resurrection would bounce back after the tough set one loss to take the match to advance to their first ever state title match in any sport.
Brittany Welch and Caitlin Coughlan both had double digit kills for Resurrection with 18 and 10 respectively and as a team, Resurrection compiled 80 digs. Setter Christina Gatta had 20 digs, Natalie McDermott had 19 and Welch added 14.
St. Viator were paced by Catherine Hickey in the loss as she compiled 14 kills and 18 digs.
Marist def. Crystal Lake Central
Savannah Thompson did it all for Marist in the win. Thompson led the team in kills and blocks with nine and three, and was second on the team in digs with eight.
Madeline Timmerman led the way for Crystal Lake Central with five kills on just right attacks, and four blocks.
Minooka def. St. Charles North
Minooka looked calm, cool, and collected in their return to the state playoffs. Last years class 4A runner up were led by Raquel Perinar with 12 kills and Allison Papesh and Holly Bonde, who added eight kills each.
“The experience from last year helped us tremendously,” said Minooka head coach Carrie Prosek. “I think between the two games last year we missed 18 serves. Coming out here yesterday when we practiced we even said this gym doesn’t seem as big as it did last year.”
St. Charles North, who were also playing in their first ever state tournament appearance, were led in kills and digs by Gianna Crescenzo with seven and six respectively.