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Mother McAuley tops Lyons; teams could meet again in sectionals

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By Randy Whalen
Correspondent

Senior Night is always a special event.

Especially when senior twins are on the team.

The Moonan twins, Maeve and Jillian, played their final home match together at Mother McAuley last week and the Mighty Macs sent them out in style.

In a possible postseason preview, McAuley made short work of visiting Lyons with a 25-16, 25-16 victory on Oct. 19.

Ellie White led the way with nine kills, 16 digs, and a block, while Maeve Moonan made sure her final home match was a good one with six kills and four blocks.

“I was excited,” Moonan said of Senior Night. “I was a little nervous but it was also a thrilling feeling. I wanted to leave my mark here at McAuley.”

Plus, she wanted to share the moment with Jillian

“It was awesome, it’s something that I will never forget,” she said of playing alongside her twin, a fellow middle blocker. “We are best friends and just have that connection.”

Last year’s Class 4A runner-up, the Mighty Macs (32-3) finished with their most regular season wins since the 2016 national champion team. Lyons (28-7) is the No. 3 seed in its own sectional, behind Marist, while the Mighty Macs are No. 1.

“It’s always filled with emotions,” McCauley coach Jen DeJarld said of Senior Night. “We always end our regular season with a match against Lyons and every other year it’s here. We know we are going to be battle-tested and it’s great to play them.”

Maeve Moonan ended the first set with a redirected kill at the net.

“Maeve is coming into her own,” DeJarld said. “She’s really aggressive and has a really quick snap. She’s worked really hard to get to this point.”

Setter Olivia Klapp dished out eight assists and had eight digs on the night. Fellow senior Gigi Navarrete, the GCAC Player of the Year, added seven digs and an ace from her libero position

“Our team is really confident and we are cooking,” Maeve Moonan said. “Going forward, we have to have the same type of motivation and dominating effort.”

Lyons was led by senior right side hitter Kamryn Lee-Caracci with five kills. Senior outside hitter Grace Brennan added three kills, junior setter Abby Markworth passed out 15 assists, junior libero Kiley Mahoney had 14 digs and junior defensive specialist Maggie Kachmarik added six digs for the Lions.

“We prepared well like any other match,” Lyons coach Jill Keeve said. “But McAuley showed up on Senior Night with lots of energy and is tough to combat. We will take this as a learning experience.”

The Lions closed the regular season with wins over New Trier (25-19, 25-16) and Buffalo Grove on Oct. 22 at its own triangular.

The postseason opens this week. The Mighty Macs are at the Argo Regional and Lyons is at the Jones Regional. Both title matches are scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday.

The Lyons Sectional semifinals are slated to begin at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 31.

“We definitely can get there and have the potential to play them again in the sectional final,” Keeve said of seeing the Mighty Macs again. “We know they’re a tough team and we didn’t play well. We were reactive instead of proactive.”

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