The Fenwick and Trinity volleyball teams have their own respective agendas in terms of how they want to play and what they hope to accomplish this season. And yet, like all great rivalries, the talented squads take a good look at each other whenever they match up between the lines as a measuring stick of each team’s progress.

Friday night was no exception as the visiting Friars rolled into River Forest to take on the Blazers. Meeting for the first time since last year’s regional final, which Fenwick won in three tough games, the Friars once again prevailed with a 25-18, 25-12 victory.

In the first game, with both teams fighting point for point, the Friars’ Liz O’Brien ran off five points on the service line to provide Fenwick some breathing room en route to the victory.

“It was neck and neck there in the beginning of the match with a lot of side outs,” Fenwick coach Eileen Asmussen said. “It was huge for us to win that first game.”

In the second game, Trinity remained focused on extending the match to a third game; however, a series of errors coupled with good jump serving by O’Brien proved too much for the Blazers. Fenwick started well and never looked back.

“I was really confident about our chances even after losing the first game,” Trinity coach Katy Schabes said. “Fenwick is a good team, but I think we beat ourselves with some mental breakdowns and our passing wasn’t there.”

For the match, the Friars enjoyed key contributions from several players. Claire Liston (13 kills), Emily Slavik (18 digs), Colleen Quaid (22 assists), Melissa Steen (7 kills), Michelle Danno (7 blocks) and O’Brien (11 kills) provided Fenwick a balanced attack.

Laurel Javors, Genevieve Berent and Sarah Canerday played well off the bench for Fenwick as well.

Trinity was not as sparkling statistically compared to most of it matches, but Lykendra Johnson (3 kills, 2 blocks), Amanda Macchione (3 kills) and Jackie Marzullo (2 kills) had their moments. Talented sophomore Caroline Brander led the team with five kills.

“This is the best team we have had here in a long time,” Schabes said. “Going into the season, one of our goals was to beat Fenwick, so it’s disappointing, but we still have a lot to play for this season.”

With an 11-4 record, including a 7-1 mark in the Girls Catholic Athletic (White) Conference, the Blazers are playing well, especially in light of the fact they recently lost star middle hitter Marissa Garbacz to an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

“We miss Marissa; she was a two-year varsity starter, but there is plenty of young talent here to help fill that void,” said Schabes.

At 12-6, Fenwick sports a solid but slightly deceiving record considering five of its six losses were against ranked teams. The Friars are 1-1 in the East Suburban Catholic Conference, which features Marist and Joliet Catholic, two of the top four ranked teams in the state.

“Overall, the year is going well,” Asmussen said. “The goal is always to grow as a team and play our best volleyball at the end of October.”

Fenwick travels this week for tough games at Marian Catholic and St. Viator, while Trinity hosts St. Scholastica before visiting Resurrection on Thursday.

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Marty Farmer

The Illinois Press Association recently honored Marty with the 1st & 2nd Place Awards for Best Sports Feature for his article He's in an Oak Park state of mind: Former OPRF star Iman Shumpert returns...