WHEATON – The St. Francis girls volleyball team has won the IHSA Class 3A state title two years running and is eyeing a third this fall.
On Wednesday night, Rosary put a scare into the powerhouse Spartans, winning the first set, 25-23, but fell in the next two, 25-10, 25-20.
The Royals brought a high intensity to the first set. The second set was dominated start to finish by the Spartans as they were able to take a 19-5 lead and cruised from there.
The third set was more evenly matched, but the Royals never led.
“[Set 1] didn’t look like St. Francis volleyball,” longtime Spartans coach Peg
Kopec said. “We were just not mentally prepared to play.”
Despite the slow start Wednesday, St. Francis was able to move to 22-1 on the season and remain undefeated in the Suburban Christian Conference.
The Spartans were led by junior Molly Haggerty, who had 12 kills in the match as well as two solo blocks.
Senior Mary Boken and sophomore Kamryn Malloy added eight kills apiece.
“We definitely struggled in the first game,” Malloy said. “We picked up our passing and all around it was a team effort.”
Setter Daniele Messa had 30 assists, as well as a tip kill and two solo blocks.
The Royals have a young squad that only feature four seniors.
They were led in kills by sophomore Erin Burke, who had 10, and sophomore Martha Konovodoff, who had nine digs.
“[We have] lots of sophomores and they’re just getting better and better,” Royals coach Rachel Hartmann said. “They’re still learning, they’re still developing. It’s good for the program.”
The Royals dropped to 13-11 and 1-2 in the SCC.
Hartmann knows that her squad is a work in progress and has to work through “young points” but knows what this team can become.
The Royals take on Montini next while St. Francis welcomes Assumption High School from Kentucky for a nonconference match.
Both teams wore pink uniforms during the match to raise awareness for breast cancer research.