Fenwick volleyball took two out of three games (25-14, 19-25, 25-14) against area-rival Trinity to win its regional championship at home in Oak Park on Saturday.
The Friars (24-9) started the match on a roll, scoring the first five points. Trinity shook off their jitters and came back, down only 9-8. However, Fenwick had scoring streaks that the Blazers couldn't counter, and won the first game, 25-14.
The Blazers were a much different team in Game 2. The game started with both teams trading points with three ties before Trinity took the lead at 6-5. It was a lead they would not relinquish and went on to win the game 25-19.
"When we're on, we're really a great team," said Fenwick coach Eileen Asmussen. "I was disappointed in game two, but they did a phenomenal job of coming back in game three from a deficit. It shows character and heart. They didn't give up and lay down. I'm very proud of them."
The Blazers (16-15) took that momentum into the deciding Game 3. They scored first and lead by as many as six points. Trinity got the deciding point on the match's longest rally to put them up 11-5, and the crowd smelled upset. Trinity may have won that rally, but it sparked the Friars to dig in and not give up any more ground.
Although Fenwick junior Elizabeth Planek didn't serve any aces, her consistent serves helped her team to tie the game at 12 and then to take the lead for good.
"We stuck with it and never gave up. We didn't want to end our season. They gave us a run for our money, but we did it," said Planek after the match.
The Friars took the deciding Game 3, 25?#34;14. After the game Trinity coach Katy Schabes said, "It was a heartbreaker. We just fell into a hole and couldn't pass up their serves. We had a great season. We took some games from some top teams, but it didn't fall our way tonight."
For Fenwick, Liz O'Brien led all players with 11 kills.
"We started playing really well in the first game. We had a big problem in the second game, but by the third game we all came together in the middle and fought hard," said O'Brien.
Sisters Claire and Maura Liston had six kills apiece, and Colleen Quaid had 23 assists. For Trinity, Amanda Maccione had eight kills, Christi McNamara five kills, and Nicole Paneque 21 assists.
"It was a good season. I'm proud of how far we got," commented McNamara. "It's sad that we lost in the end, but I think all the girls played their hearts out."
Fenwick captain Maura Liston summed it up when she said, "I'm ecstatic that we came back in the third. We took control and won. I knew we could do it."
Fenwick advanced to take on Nazareth (Tuesday, after deadline) in the semifinal of the Lyons Sectional.