Mother McAuley players celebrate their Class 4A state title, which they won Nov. 12 with a three-set victory over Benet at Redbird Arena. Photo by Randy Whalen

Mother McAuley players celebrate their Class 4A state title, which they won Nov. 12 with a three-set victory over Benet at Redbird Arena. Photo by Randy Whalen

Mother McAuley tops Benet for 16th state title

Spread the love

By Randy Whalen
Correspondent

Playing with the motivation of losing last season’s Class 4A state title match, Mother McAuley was on a mission to bring home the championship this year.

Mission accomplished.

The Mighty Macs defeated Benet, 25-22, 17-25, 25-14, for the 4A state crown on Nov. 12 at Redbird Arena in Normal.

Ellie White led the way with a match-high 20 kills as McAuley captured its 16th volleyball state championship, and was perhaps a redemption after last season’s runner-up finish.

“Last year, after match point, we said we’d be back,” White said. “We had unfished business. That was the theme all year, that’s what we wanted to do. We had to fight for every point and our chemistry definitely got us through this. My teammates trust me and I trust them.

“This is incredible, it really hasn’t hit me yet.”

White, a junior outside hitter, added nine digs and saved her best for last as she served an ace for match point. That set off a wild celebration.

Benet (37-5), which was making its seventh title match appearance since 2008 and had four Class 4A state championships (2011, 2012, 2014, 2019) in that span, jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the opening set.

McAuley (39-3) chipped away but still trailed 20-18 when White, who has already verbally committed to Michigan, walloped a kill to start a 5-0 run, which was highlighted by a trio of kills from senior setter Tess Hayes (13 assists).

“That was crazy,” Hayes said of her serving streak. “I feel like we just had the biggest energy after coming back. Once we picked it up, we found our true selves and started playing like ourselves.”

White finished off the opener with a kill.

Benet took the second set, closing with an 11-1 blitz.

But have no fear, the third set was here.

McAuley Volleyball State

Mother McAuley players and fans celebrate the Mighty Macs’ Class 4A state championship. Photo by Randy Whalen

“We love third sets,” said McAuley junior middle blocker Ellery Rees, who had nine kills, two blocks, and two digs. “It pushes us that much harder and we wanted it.”

Including the two matches at state, the Mighty Macs were 11-2 in their 13 matches which went three sets. They never trailed in this third set, breaking out to a 7-1 advantage and never leading by fewer than three points.

“We really had to keep it light,” said Gigi Navarrete. “It’s a game, and we’re here to have fun. We had to remind each other to have fun but we also knew there was no letup. This was our goal all season.”

Navarrete, a defender extraordinaire who is committed to Northwestern, finished with 20 digs and four assists. She kept multiple rallies alive with digs.

“This whole team experience,” Navarrette said of what she’d remember about the season. “Just being in the moment. We got second last year and that fired us up.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do this without all my teammates and our fans.”

“I’ve been going to McAuley matches at state since I was younger,” added Rees. “So being on a team that won the state title is just an unbelievable feeling. I’m so proud of the team.”

A foursome of seniors, right side hitter Mary Kate Sheehan (5 kills), setter Olivia Klapp (20 assists, 5 digs), and the middle blocking tandem of twins Jill (2 kills, 4 digs) and Maeve (kill, block, 4 digs) Moonan were big for McAuley.

On Nov. 11, the Macs had to rally for a 25-27, 25-17, 25-20 win over St. Charles East, which lost to Barrington 25-20, 25-16 in the third-place match, in the last semifinal.

White had a match-high 23 kills. She ended with 544 kills on the season, which placed her in the top 20 in a season in the IHSA record book.

“There are times I take her for granted,” McAuley coach Jen DeJarld said of White following the semifinal match. “Sometimes I just don’t appreciate her enough. She has a level of greatness about her.”

DeJarld, who has been coach of the Mighty Macs for the past 18 seasons, doesn’t take these trips to state for granted. This is the eighth trophy for McAuley under her, and the third Class 4A championship, joining the 2013 and 2016 teams.

“Last year we had it right there at our fingertips,” DeJarld said. “The momentum can change so fast in this game. But we had unfinished business, and it was our fortitude and grit that drove us through the tough stretches to get it.”

Local News

Alan Morales

Lyons Mental Health Commission pulls LeaderShop funding

Spread the love

Spread the loveExecutive director accused of harassment From staff reports The local nonprofit service community was jolted when nearly $300,000 in mental health funds was withdrawn by a Lyons Township agency from the Western Springs LeaderShop, a social service agency that has provided youth programs for nearly 40 years. The Lyons Township Mental Health Commission…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Mount Carmel, Marist and Oak Lawn among 84 teams at Riverside-Brookfield shootout

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent   High school boys basketball does not stop in March and pick back up in late autumn. For many players, playing hoops is a year-round commitment. AAU ball is a big reason for, that there are summer camps, shootouts or other events at most schools during the summer. The…

Peggy Zabicki

Dog lovers to celebrate ‘Fur of July’

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place •  (773) 504-9327 . I’m starting out with some fun news. The West Lawn Dog Park Advisory Council will be hosting a Fur of July Pet Parade on Saturday, June 29 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at West Lawn…

Mary Stanek

Fourth of July not happy for everyone

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place •  (773) 517-7796 . Happy Fourth of July. Cannot believe I am already saying that, time sure goes. Hope it is safe and quiet for everyone and especially all of our house pets. For us its shutting…

Kathy Headley

St. Rita’s transformation is worth a look

Spread the love

Spread the love. Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 . St. Rita of Cascia Church, 63rd and Fairfield, continues to undergo its transformation from the sunflowery/harvest golds and browns of the 1960s and 1970s to the calming pastels of the 2000s. Since the basilica-style church…

Alyssa Naeher clears a ball at North Carolina on June 23 in a 3-1 Red Stars loss. IMAGN photo

Loss to Courage brings Red Stars’ winless streak to five games

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The Chicago Red Stars historic start to the season is all but forgotten. In the last five matches, the Red Stars have failed to win, with the latest setback being a 3-1 loss on the road to North Carolina on June 23 in an NWSL battle. The Red Stars…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Summer League Basketball | Illinois powers compete at Riverside-Brookfield Shootout

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent School’s out for the summer, but high school athletes across Illinois are remaining active during the summer sports season. This includes basketball players, who can be found at camps, open gyms, camps and even weekend tournaments. Among the more high profile hoops action in the area was the Riverside-Brookfield…

Dana Rettke, a graduate of Riverside-Brookfield High School, will play on the U.S. women's volleyball team at the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Paris.

Dana Rettke and Ryan Murphy heading to Paris Summer Games

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Area fans of the Summer Olympics will have extra reasons to cheer athletes from the United States in the upcoming Paris Games. Dana Rettke of Riverside is a member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team and Palos Heights native Ryan Murphy will represent the country in swimming. Rettke, a…

Kathy Headley

Hope Church feeds the hungry at Marquette Park

Spread the love

Spread the love. Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 . Last week on the way to our CAPS meeting at the Marquette Park Fieldhouse, I stopped in at the Tuesday Community Dinner hosted by Hope Church every week in the auditorium. Pastors Ben and Jordyn…

Ray Hanania

What about the needs of Americans?

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Ray Hanania . It’s amazing how America is being forced to accept migrants, undocumented and foreigners who enter this country illegally by ignoring our immigration laws and system. These illegals are given all kinds of benefits, including housing, shelter, food, funding and even “documentation services” including getting driver’s licenses from Gov.…

Neighbors

Speaker Welch rebuffs lawsuit from would-be staff union as ‘forum shopping’

Speaker Welch rebuffs lawsuit from would-be staff union as ‘forum shopping’

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch is urging a Cook County judge to dismiss a lawsuit members of his staff filed against him last month seeking to force recognition of their union. In a new filing Monday, attorneys for Welch argued the Illinois Legislative Staff Association has no…

Advocates say SCOTUS ruling paves way for law ensuring abusers have guns confiscated

Advocates say SCOTUS ruling paves way for law ensuring abusers have guns confiscated

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com After the U.S. Supreme Court last week upheld a federal law that bars those under domestic violence-related restraining orders from owning guns, victim advocates say Illinois lawmakers should pass a measure to ensure firearms are actually confiscated in those situations. The legislation has been stalled for more than…

Communities, commission push Pritzker admin for more prison plan details

Communities, commission push Pritzker admin for more prison plan details

By DILPREET RAJU Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com Jimmy Soto spent more than 42 years wrongfully imprisoned in Illinois Department of Corrections facilities. In 2020, he was moved to the “F-House” at Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet, a condemned unit, not because he was being punished, but because it was where the facility was housing individuals…

Elections board urged to dismiss complaint that Bailey illegally coordinated in 2022 campaign

Elections board urged to dismiss complaint that Bailey illegally coordinated in 2022 campaign

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com A hearing officer is recommending the Illinois State Board of Elections dismiss a complaint that alleged conservative radio host and political operative Dan Proft illegally coordinated with former Republican state Sen. Darren Bailey during his 2022 campaign for governor. Proft, a one-time gubernatorial candidate himself, is behind an…

State highway shootings decline as critics sue over ‘dragnet surveillance’

State highway shootings decline as critics sue over ‘dragnet surveillance’

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois jnowicki@capitolnewsillinois.com Illinois State Police say an automated license plate reader program has helped the agency identify witnesses or suspects in 82 percent of highway shooting cases this year, including all eight that resulted in a death.  But as the state looks to further expand its network of more than…

Just weeks before Republican National Convention, Illinois GOP chair announces resignation

Just weeks before Republican National Convention, Illinois GOP chair announces resignation

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com Halfway through the 2024 election cycle and just a few weeks away from the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, Illinois GOP Chair Don Tracy on Wednesday announced his resignation as head of the state Republican Party. Tracy, who’d held the job since February 2021, explained his resignation in…

As Illinois session ends, lawmakers’ attempt to reinstate wetland protections fails

As Illinois session ends, lawmakers’ attempt to reinstate wetland protections fails

by JENNIFER BAMBERG Investigate Midwest jennifer.bamberg@investigatemidwest.org In 2006, 19-year-old Jessica Whinston inherited 20 acres of land that her grandparents once farmed in Quincy, Illinois. The land had sat dormant since the 1980s and was overgrown, but Whinston and her husband Bradley worked to turn it into a productive farm. The couple were eventually able to…

Elections board dismisses illegal campaign coordination complaint, declines to clarify law

Elections board dismisses illegal campaign coordination complaint, declines to clarify law

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com CHICAGO – State elections officials on Tuesday indicated they were unlikely to step in to clarify what constitutes illegal campaign coordination after voting to dismiss a complaint alleging such coordination in the 2022 campaign for governor. At their monthly meeting in Chicago, Illinois State Board of Elections members…

Illinois’ ban on ‘bump stocks’ remains in place despite U.S. Supreme Court decision

Illinois’ ban on ‘bump stocks’ remains in place despite U.S. Supreme Court decision

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – An Illinois law banning the sale and use of “bump stocks” and other devices that increase the firing power of semiautomatic weapons remains in place, at least for now, despite a U.S. Supreme Court decision Friday striking down a federal ban on such items. “Illinois law…

Lawmakers pass on oversight vote for Pritzker’s prison closure, rebuild plan

Lawmakers pass on oversight vote for Pritzker’s prison closure, rebuild plan

By HANNAH MEISEL & DILPREET RAJU Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – For the last two decades, each time a governor has moved to close a large state-run facility like a prison or mental health center, a legislative oversight panel has voted on the plan. That changed on Friday – at least for now –…