Girls volleyball: St. Viator dumps Lake Forest to reach sectional final
Mind over matter.
That, and a big home crowd cheering them on, helped the St. Viator girls volleyball team to a sectional semifinal win.
"I think we came together today," said Lions 6-foot-1 senior middle Lily LaFleur. "We all went out to eat together before the game, and we were just in a great mental state."
And with LaFleur and classmate Marie Torosian leading the way on attack with 8 kills apiece, Viator defeated Lake Forest 25-21, 25-13 Monday night in the Lions' gym.
No. 1 seed Viator will now play Lakes, an upset winner over second-seeded Deerfield, for the Class 3A sectional championship Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Arlington Heights.
"It feels like a relief, " added LaFleur of the victory, "and now we've just got to keep it going and keep our heads in it for a few more games. Stay even keel."
Torosian was strong on service as well with 3 aces, and contributed 9 digs and 2 blocks.
"The fans in the stands were amazing," said Lions coach Charlie Curtin. "Definitely a homecourt advantage, and that helped us out tonight."
Viator took control of the first set late. The score was tied 20-all, then the Lions scored the next 4 points with Torosian on serve, and a spike from LaFleur brought the home team to set point at 24-21.
LaFleur hit a kill off the block to give Set 1 to the Lions.
Lake Forest was strong early in the second set, but Viator quickly turned things around and when Torosian hit a kill, the score was 6-3 Lions.
Then after a Scouts side out, Viator went on a 9-point run.
Torosian started the points parade with 2 consecutive aces, Lauren Allaire stroked a kill, Torosian had a great diving dig that led to a LaFleur kill, and Allaire hit two more winners.
Then Torosian served up another ace and just like that it was 15-4 Viator.
"Marie played great," said Curtin, "and Lily was just terrific in the front row."
Lake Forest was able to rally to within 6 points but with the score 23-13, senior Cailyn Harrington set Allaire for a kill, then LaFleur put the exclamation point on the win with a clutch block at the net.
"We have a lot of seniors," said LaFleur, "and team chemistry is really on point. Our motto is 'Don't Back Down', and we know we have to finish. Even if the score is like 24 to 5, we push all the way through because teams can always come back."
Harrington finished with 26 assists and 5 digs, Allaire had 6 kills while Mary Grace Lynch was 14-of-14 on serve.
"(On defense) we picked up a bunch of digs when we needed to," added Curtin. "It all kind of rolled together tonight."