Girls volleyball: New Trier eliminates Maine South

By Bill McLean
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 10/28/2021 8:59 PM

A CeCe played better than average volleyball Thursday night.

Way better.


New Trier senior outside hitter CeCe Burns turned in a straight-A performance in the Class 4A Hoffman Estates girls volleyball regional final, striking a match-high 13 kills in the Trevians' 25-13, 25-17 defeat of Maine South's Hawks.

The 6-foot-1 co-captain even returned a net antenna to its upright position after it had fallen following a second-set service into the net.

Burns smacks sets.

Burns fixes equipment.

"She's fierce," New Trier coach Hannah Hsieh said after her club captured the program's 17th regional championship in 22 years.

"Amazing," Maine South senior middle Elizabeth Ryser added. "She hit a variety of attacks tonight, all of them bullets."

The victory -- New Trier's third against Central Suburban League South rival Maine South in as many matches this fall -- secured a Schaumburg sectional semifinal berth against fourth-seeded Niles West on Monday at 5:30 p.m.

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Niles West topped No. 5 Maine West 25-21, 25-23 in the Maine East regional final Thursday night in Park Ridge.

Top-seeded New Trier (23-11) and eighth-seeded Maine South (17-19) engaged in a pair of lengthy, highly competitive points at the outset Thursday night, with Burns' first kill knotting it a 1. Three more Burns kills helped New Trier build a 7-4 advantage.

Kills from Ryser (2 kills, 4 blocks) and Hawks senior right-side hitter Madeleine Riggs halted a couple of New Trier runs. But Hsieh's crew took a 20-9 lead and coasted from there to pocket set one.

Burns struck often and emphatically at the start of set two, recording 4 of New Trier's first 7 points via kill. Maine South senior outside hitter Aiden Lefler's second ace of the match cut the Trevs' difference to 16-10.

A kill by New Trier senior outside hitter and co-captain Julia Hall made it a 19-12 score, and senior libero Cara Murdock slapped an ace moments later.


Maine South's no-doubt-about-it highlight of the night came when it faced a match point at 24-15. Burns appeared poised to end matters with yet another kill, until Ryser rocketed to block the shot.

Point, Maine South.

The echo generated by that clash lingered ... lingered ... lingered.

New Trier clinched it 2 points later.

Hawks coach Kathleen Durkin was all class afterward -- just like her players.

"That's a great team," Durkin said of New Trier. "No. 5 (Burns), she's good, so good, isn't she? My girls gave credit to her right after the match; they recognize talent when they see it.

"My team was a smart one all season," she added. "And my players showed great sportsmanship in every match. Tonight you saw great body language from them, start to finish. They stayed positive."

Junior libero Kat Mladenovic paced the Hawks in digs, with 17, followed by senior setter Madison Wright's 8.

"A sense of community," Ryser said of what she and her teammates established in practices and in matches throughout the 2021 season. "We played hard and we played together, no matter what."

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