2015 Varsity Team - Season Ending Results
LEXINGTON, Ky. (November 4, 2015) - The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) is proud to announce the 10th annual Under Armour Girls High School All-America Teams.
The approximately 600 nominations are a record number for the program, resulting in a combined 150 All-Americans and Honorable Mention All-Americans. Many already committed to play collegiate volleyball at some of the top schools in the country. Each of the players on the First Team will be invited to play in the Under Armour All-America Volleyball Match & Skills Competition. The event will be held at the CenturyLink Center on Friday, December 18th in conjunction with the 2015 AVCA Annual Convention.
Requirements for nomination were that the student-athlete be in her senior year of high school, that she be nominated by her high school coach, that her coach be a member of the AVCA and that her individual season statistics versus all opponents for the entire season be entered into MaxPreps, a free service that aggregates and distributes data on high school sports.
The Under Armour Girls High School All-America Committee consists of: Region 1: Rob Slavin, Region 2: Tony Crisafulli, Region 3: Donna Fleming, Region 4: Al Bennet, Region 5: Tracey Kornau, Region 6: Kyle Yackley, Region 7: Jim Lee, Region 8: Nancy Dorsey, Region 9: Jessica Papell, Region 10: Jeff Carroll
Two great teams. Two great crowds. But just one Molly Haggerty.
A packed house at Bolingbrook High School Saturday afternoon saw Benet and St. Francis -- each a defending state champion -- play superb volleyball for three tight sets before the Spartans eventually claimed the Class 4A supersectional 21-25, 25-22, 25-22. With the win the 37-3 Spartans advance to the state semifinals next Friday against Cary-Grove.
After three straight Class 3A titles St. Francis will be looking to make history with four straight championships and a first 4A one for the Wheaton school.
"We're real excited about state," said St. Francis setter Dani Messa, who had 30 assists and 6 kills of her own. "Obviously, we've been there before, but it's a different team every year. The girls are different and it's a new environment. So we're real excited we get to go again."
While a number of players have come and gone over the last four years, outside hitter Molly Haggerty has started the last four years and is looking to cap off a brilliant senior season with a fourth state title next weekend. Against Benet, which had its three-year, state-trophy run come to a close, Haggerty delivered a match-high 22 kills but also shone on defense with 12 digs.
Redwings coach Brad Baker could only tip his hat after his girls played great and still came up just short of another trip to Illinois State's Redbird Arena.
"It was a great game, it really was," he said. "The reality was at the end Molly took it over. Sometimes you can have the best game plan and the kids can do all the right plays and they got a kid that's just bigger, stronger, faster and there's nothing you can do."
But the Redwings, who finished 37-3 this season and reached the Elite Eight after claiming a pair of state titles and a runner-up finish the last three years, gave it their all. Benet stormed out to a 9-3 lead in the opener following a block from Gretchen Rudel and then led 19-9 following a kill by Lina Lietuvninkas. The Spartans did close the gap late, but a Veronica Snelling kill gave the opener to Benet.
The next two sets were tight throughout, with solid defense leading to several long rallies and well-earned points. With the second set tied at 21, Haggerty recorded one kill and Kamryn Malloy two as the Spartans drew even in the match and set up a classic, decisive third set.
The finale featured nine ties early -- including 12-12, before the Redwings opened up 3-point leads of 17-14 and 19-16. But that's when Haggerty and her teammates came up big, starting with a combo block from Cat Wilson and Alexia Byrnes that tied the game at 20-20.
Down the stretch Messa made a great off-balance set that Haggerty powered down for a 22-20 lead and the Daily Herald All-Area team captain later slammed kills down the left sideline for her team's 23rd and 24th points en route the big victory.
"I think we knew coming into this game it was going to be big match, I mean 3A state champs versus 4A state champs," said Haggerty, whose older sister Maddie won state titles at both Benet and St. Francis. "So we knew there was a lot of pressure on us, but I thought we did really well as a team and kept our composure even though we lost in the first set. We just fought back the whole game and point after point, we stayed together as a team and it really showed."
Snelling paced Benet with 15 kills while Tiffany Clark closed out her stellar senior season with 12 kills and 11 digs for the Redwings. Junior setter Sara Nielsen had 41 assists in the match.
No drama this time, not that Benet minded a bit.
The Redwings' rematch with Mother McAuley only resembled last year's marathon supersectional in one way: a Benet two-game win.
Trailing just three times, Benet rolled to a 25-14, 25-21 win in Thursday's Class 4A Lyons Sectional final.
"It's nice to get a good, clean win," said Michigan-bound senior Tiffany Clark, who had 10 kills and six digs. "Last year (a 27-25, 37-35 win) was great, but this is even better."
This was Benet's fifth straight sectional championship, and boosts the Redwings (37-2) into a supersectional against St. Francis at 1 p.m. Saturday at Bolingbrook.
That match will pit the defending Class 4A and Class 3A state champs, two schools separated by eight miles that never meet in volleyball.
For a night, Benet coach Brad Baker savored a win over McAuley (31-9), which handed his team its last loss in October.
"We had to match, and go above what they do," Baker said. "We've been here before with them and every time it's a high-intensity match."
Clark was half of a key lineup switch Benet made in September. A libero for her club team, Clark was moved to outside with Lauren Barnes assuming the libero jersey.
Both looked right at home Thursday.
Barnes, a junior, made a series of spectacular digs in Game 1.
She lunged for a one-armed save to keep one rally alive, Lauren Berta putting it away with a block and 13-10 Benet lead. Later, Barnes went into a full dive forward to turn up a McAuley spike just before it hit court, and Benet won the point to go ahead 24-17.
"My mindset is to not let a ball drop," Barnes said. "If I see a ball, I'm going for it no matter what."
Barnes finished with a match-high 17 digs. Her defense, in large part, kept McAuley standout middle Kayla Caffey from establishing any momentum.
"You look good when your players play well," Baker said. "Lauren is a strong kid and she played like it."
McAuley played more like itself in the second game, but Clark was not to be denied.
She slammed home eight of her 10 kills in Game 2. After Laura Keating's ace gave Benet the lead for good at 16-15, Clark unloaded on a vicious spike off a McAuley defender.
In a groove, she reached back for another big hit to make it 19-15, then put a missile down the line.
Trailing 15-14, Benet regained control with a 6-0 run.
"We knew that McAuley team we played in Game 1 is not the team we're used to playing," Clark said. "Outside is a great change of pace for me from club. I love hitting the ball."
Benet never trailed in Game 1 after a 3-0 lead, dominating the action from midway on.
At 12-10 the Redwings ripped off a 7-0 run, a stretch started by one of Barnes' big digs. McAuley contributed with three of its nine first-game errors, and Sarah Nielsen's two aces finished it.
Nielsen had 20 assists, Veronica Snelling eight kills and Lina Lietuvninkas four for Benet.
"It's easy to start slow and let the pressure get to you, but I thought we did a great job of bringing intensity from the start," Clark said. "We still aren't there yet. We have so many more things to accomplish."
Veronica Snelling looked well Tuesday, which was bad news for Sandburg. A bad back kept Benet's junior outside hitter out of a few matches toward the end of the season, and she is still limited in practice. Her left arm was lightning, though, in Benet's 25-21, 25-19 win over Sandburg at the Class 4A Lyons Sectional semifinals. "We're all back now and ready to go," Snelling said. "I'm fine." Snelling backed up her words with eight kills, second to Tiffany Clark's nine for top-seeded Benet (36-2). The Redwings advanced to play Mother McAuley in Thursday's sectional final. Clark herself has been bothered by a nagging heel injury, but she knows now is not the time for excuses. "It's been a really long season, but we're holding on," said Clark, a Michigan recruit. "Just a couple more matches. We have to suck it up." Snelling's opportunities were few in Game 1.