Hannah, Marist leave Crystal Lake Central behind in Fall Harvest Festival finale

Crystal Lake Central’s Maddy McCormick hits against the block of Marist’s Ellie Kurpeikis (10) and Kamryn Chaney (9) during the championship match of the Fall Harvest Festival at Plainfield Central. (Photos by Dave Ruggles)

Camryn Hannah took one look at Marist’s championship game opponent and knew the RedHawks were in for a fight.

“That’s something we identified during warm-ups,” said Marist’s 6-foot-2 outside hitter/setter. “They’re a big team. They were going to swing on us. So we knew we had to play defense, and I think that was something that hurt us in the first set.”

Marist (31-2) had its hands full in the first set, trailing 8-6 early and 23-22 late on a block by Crystal Lake Central’s Madeline Timmerman. The RedHawks did not help themselves with 8 errors, including four of the service variety.

But Marist rallied behind kills by Hannah and Avery Jedry, then built a big early lead in Game 2 to defeat the Tigers, 25-23, 25-17, and claim the championship of the Fall Harvest Festival at Plainfield Central and sponsored by Illprepvb.com.

Hannah, who finished with 12 kills, 8 assists and 3 blocks, was named the tournament’s most valuable player.

“The first game was a little sloppy,” she said. “I don’t think we were working as hard as we could have. We kind of took a break after we had a (13-10) lead in the beginning. They came back on us. We talked about that between games, and came out in Game 2 and executed.”

Marist, ranked No. 2 in Class 4A by Illprepvb.com and which advanced to the finals by defeating Nazareth, 25-23, 25-17, was forced to adjust on the fly against Class 3A No. 1-ranked Crystal Lake Central, which used a closing 12-0 service run in Game 1 by libero Karina Simatos to get past Plainfield North 25-16, 25-23, in the other semifinal.

“(Nazareth and Crystal Lake Central) are two completely different teams,” said Marist coach Jordan Vidovic. “Crystal Lake Central brings more pace. We had to shore some things up on defense. We were a hesitant and it led to some loose points in the first game.

“Once we figured that out a little bit and got some matchups in the front row that were a little bit better for us, it started to show,” he added. “We started to smooth it out little bit. We held down our side pretty good and didn’t give them a bunch of chances to go on any runs.”

The Tigers’ longest run of any kind in Game 2 was a 4-1 spurt that narrowed an 18-10 deficit to 19-14.

“I thought Marist came out pretty strong and aggressive from the get-go,” said Crystal Lake Central coach Lisa Brunstrum. “I thought we were kind of sitting back on our heels the first couple points in the first set, and then we decided, ‘Hey, let’s play. We got nothing to lose.’

“But in the second set, we just focused on the big deficit (14-4), that point spread,” she added. “We were never able to climb out of it, and against a great team like Marist, you can’t do that (fall that far behind).”

BY THE NUMBERS: Camryn Hannah led Marist with 12 kills, 8 assists and 3 blocks. Maddie Arundel added 7 kills, Avery Jedry contributed 5 kills and 8 digs, and Nikki Jones dished out 21 assists. Maddy McCormick’s 6 kills and 7 digs powered Crystal Lake Central, which also got 5 kills and 9 assists from Camryn Hausler, 6 blocks from Madeline Timmerman, 7 assists and a kill from Grace Levin, 15 digs from Karina Simatos, and 3 kills, 2 assists, and 7 digs from Madde Blake.   

THEY SAID IT: “I’m proud of our girls. We played two great matches (Friday night), where our serve-receive was solid and we served aggressively, and we had two great matches (Saturday morning) where we played some all-out defense. The girls are very excited because today marked a milestone. (The semifinal) was our 30th win. That’s huge for the seniors. This is exactly where we want to be. That’s why we drive two hours to play some great programs like Marist.” — Crystal Lake Central coach Lisa Brunstrum

THEY SAID IT: “It’s good to be here. It’s good for the playoffs, just to be ready to play tougher teams. I’m looking forward (to the IHSA tournament). (Do some damage?) Yeah.” – Chicago Christian’s 6-2 outside hitter Logan Grevengoed, whose Class 2A team finished second in the Silver division after falling to Andrew, 25-21, 24-25, 15-7.

THEY SAID IT: “These teams are good at exposing what you’re not good at. That’s something that we needed. (Crystal Lake Central) was physical from a blocking perspective. They block a lot of balls. It takes discipline to cover 100 percent of the time. That’s something we weren’t great at in that match. You have to pay attention to what they’re doing, and as blockers do our job 100 percent of the time. Those two things were exploited in that match.” – Normal U-High coach Mike Bulhuis, whose team lost to Class 3A No.-1 ranked Crystal Lake Central, 25-19, 25-21, in a Gold bracket quarterfinal.

THEY SAID IT: We played well. We lost our normal 5-1 setter (Natalie Ingold), who hurt her wrist in gym class Thursday, so we made a few adjustments. I think our serve-receive was dynamic and our defense kept us in it. We just have to be able execute in a tight situations like that.” – St. Francis coach Lisa Ston, whose team dropped a 25-14, 24-26, 15-10 quarterfinal match to Plainfield North.

THEY SAID IT: “Marist is just an emotional match-up for our girls because they’re from the same area and in the same conference (East Suburban Catholic). And I think Marist being Marist, there’s a big desire to want to beat them, so the intent is there. But with a team like Marist, you give them a 6-point lead and you’re not coming back from that, no matter how well you play.” — Nazareth coach Melissa Masterson, whose team fell behind 8-2 to Marist in Game 1 of a 25-22, 25-17 semifinal loss

THEY SAID IT: “They got a good service run going and were serving aggressively. We were out of system and we were just sending the ball back, and weren’t aggressive on the third ball coming back over. They’re a very good team and transition well, so they sided out pretty quickly. One of our senior outside hitters’ shoulder is hurting so we rested her, moved a kid from the right to the left side, and moved up one of our juniors to see if they could step up against the competition. So it was a very good weekend for them to learn.” – Plainfield North coach Matt Slechta, whose team led Crystal Lake Central 16-13 in Game 1 of their semifinal match before the Central went on a 12-0 run to close out the set.

ON THE RECORD: Marist (31-2), Crystal Lake Central (30-3), Plainfield North (27-5), Nazareth (25-6), Normal U-High (26-5), Minooka (26-6), Chicago Christian (27-5).

Chicago Christian’s Maddie Dryfhout (right) and Andrew’s Amber Gahse (8) meet at the net during the Silver division championship match won by Andrew. (Photo by Dave Ruggles)
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