February 28, 2024
Sports - McHenry County

Sports - McHenry County

High school volleyball: Marian Central sweeps Woodstock

Marian Central Hurricanes logo

HARVARD – The Marian Central girls volleyball team couldn’t wait to set foot on Harvard’s hardwood floors Tuesday in a Class 3A Harvard Regional semifinal.

The Hurricanes ended their regular season by dropping three of five matches in the competitive Lyons Township Invitational – a tournament that includes many 4A schools Marian Central felt would better prepare it for the postseason.

The ‘Canes were determined to play their best volleyball and got the result they were looking for, sweeping Woodstock, 25-12, 25-14, in their first match since Saturday.

Marian Central, a No. 2 seed, moves on to play top-seeded Belvidere in the regional final at 6 p.m. Thursday. Belvidere defeated Marengo in two sets in the first semifinal.

“I don’t think the girls let those types of losses get to them,” Marian coach Laura Watling said. “They were really focused on turning a new leaf. It’s a new game in the postseason, and every game counts. I like where their focus was at tonight.”

The ‘Canes (22-14) led almost the entire way against the Blue Streaks, as Woodstock’s only lead came early in the first set, when it held a 5-4 advantage. But Central quickly took advantage with superior outside hitting from 5-foot-9 junior Rachel Giustino and 5-foot-10 sophomore Sydney Nemtuda, who combined for 15 kills.

Giustino led the way with 10, including seven in the decisive second set.

“We knew we were going to be able to take advantage from the outside, so in practice we worked a lot on our shots and really finishing our opportunities,” Giustino said.

Also for the ‘Canes, junior libero Alex Kaufmann recorded 17 digs, Katherine Adams had 11 assists and Norah Cetera added three blocks.

Unlike in Monday’s three-set win against Harvard, Woodstock (17-20) couldn’t get into an offensive groove, a problem that’s popped up throughout the year for the Streaks.

“When we get nervous and doubt ourselves, that’s how we play [today],” Woodstock coach Meghan Mullaney said. “And when we leave it all out there, we play how we did [Monday] night. So you’ve seen two sides of us in two days.”

Freshman Maddie Spear led Woodstock with six kills, Georgia Wicker had 22 digs and Brie Weiss added 11 assists. Despite the loss, the Streaks won their most matches since 2007, earning more victories than in the two previous years combined.

The Game Ball

Rachel Giustino, jr. OH

Giustino led Marian Central with 10 kills in a 25-12, 25-14 semifinal win against Woodstock.

The Number 10:

Kills for Marengo in the second game of a 25-19, 25-22 semifinal loss against top-seeded Belvidere – eight more than in the Indians' first game.

The Big Play

The Hurricanes scored the final three points in the second set on kills from Sydney Nemtuda, Lanie Weck and Lauren Hanlon to finish off the Blue Streaks.

Marian Central 2, Woodstock 0 (25-12, 25-14)

Marian Central leaders: Kills–Rachel Giustino 10, Sydney Nemtuda 5; Digs–Alex Kaufmann 17; Assists–Katherine Adams 11; Blocks–Norah Cetera 4 Woodstock leaders: Kills–Maddie Spear 6, Alex Muschong 3; Digs–Georgia Wicker 22; Assists–Brie Weiss 11

Alex Kantecki

Alex Kantecki

Alex is a sports writer for the Northwest Herald.