Win in the brag for Fenwick

Friars edge cross-town rival

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They may be in different conferences and the result may not have any significance on the season, but when Fenwick and Trinity go head-to-head in any sport the outcome is almost always exciting.

The two schools lived up to the billing when the Friars (11-7) edged their cross-town rivals the Blazers 25-19, 25-16 for nothing more than bragging rights on Friday night in Oak Park.

Fenwick scored the first point on a long rally that was a precursor of things to come. The game was tied four times in the early going as both teams traded points on some fantastic play before the Friars were able to build a small lead. They led by as many as four points three different times over the Blazers (7-6) who kept hanging in. Trinity was able to cut the lead to one point midway through the match at 16-15, but the Friars refused to give up any more ground.

The long, well fought first game made the crowd eager for the second game with the anticipation of a third to decide the match. However, that was not to be. After starting off with the only tie of the game at one apiece, Fenwick roared off seven straight points to lead 8-1. The Friars continued to be relentless, while the Blazers sputtered. At one point, Fenwick led 16-3.

"We did well this match. We have a tendency to come out and play incredibly well or incredibly bad," said Fenwick head coach Eileen Ausmussen. "We struggled offensively at times tonight, but our defense and our passing came through. We did a good job of working our middles and our right sides into the offense, spreading the game out and making everybody a viable hitter."

Trinity tried to stage a comeback on the sharp play of senior Christi McNamara, but could never get closer than eight points.

"I think it was communication. The balls and everyone were all over the place," said Trinity senior Kelly O'Brien of her team's quick demise in Game 2.

Fenwick senior Maura Liston finished eight kills, while her younger sister Clare Liston had seven kills.

"We came out really strong at the beginning. We were all energized for the game," said Clare. Maura, who is captain of the squad, added, "I'm glad we won. We felt solid the whole game. We came together in the second game pretty nicely."

Katie Hartmann had nine blocks for the Friars, and Colleen Quaid had 22 assists.

McNamara led the Blazers with five kills and Nicole Paneque had 11 assists.

"We didn't give up," said McNamara after the game.

"We're up one day, then we lose it the next. Right now we need to focus on mental toughness," said Trinity head coach Katy Schabes. "This team is so talented, and when we're on, we are really on."

Fenwick's aspirations are going beyond the sectional this season.

"We definitely want to win the sectional this year. We made it to the super sectional two years ago, and I'd like to get back there," said Ausmussen. "Ultimately, we want to get downstate. My goal is to be playing our best volleyball at the end of the year."

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