Lady Irish sweep GraceView 8 Photos
The fierce one-two duo of junior outside hitter McKenna Brown and sophomore middle blocker Regan Wolf did wonders as Notre Dame extended its undefeated streak against volleyball district foes to double digits.
Brown and Wolf kept the host Grace Academy defense guessing in combining for 24 kills in a sweep of the Division II-A East Region District 2 championship Monday night.
Wolf picked up her 10th kill of the match to break a 24-all tie and help close a fierce, back-and-forth second set.
"I was just focused on playing and having fun with my teammates tonight," said the district tournament MVP, who helped key wins of 25-12, 26-24 and 25-14. "We took the momentum and ran with it. Our goal is to win state this year. Our coaches really believe in us. We are a very strong team and continue to click on the court."
Notre Dame (30-9) had big hits set up by Mary Fillauer, who finished with 37 assists, while libero Gwen Jimenez made a spectacular diving dig in the first set that sailed over the net to the back left corner to earn a point.
In a promising season in which the Lady Irish are 10-0 against district opponents, the guidance of a lone senior has helped push a young team into a world of confidence going into region play at home this Thursday.
Senior do-it-all Jazzmyne Brown was a steady force Monday with six aces, 13 digs and seven kills.
"Jazzmyne has been a starter for three years and was a big part of our other district championship two years ago," coach Dan Clotfelter said. "She is never going to dominate the stat sheet, but she is going to be up there in digs and she had some great serves and hits tonight. She does everything well and is a great senior leader for a team that lost four starters last year."
With Brown being one of the area's most dominant hitters all season, averaging nearly 12 kills per match, the Lady Irish will look for big hits in the middle to help make the offense unpredictable.
"Regan has 20 kills over her last six sets, and that's a lot for a middle," Clotfelter said. "Any time we needed her, we went to her tonight. She keeps getting better and better."
Grace Academy (10-20) brought great energy in the wild second set that changed leads nine times. Emma Poppert, Holley Fulgham and Megan Long all rose up for big blocks, and Abby McGaughey served back-to-back aces.
"Our girls will keep moving forward from this," said Grace coach Laurie McGinley, whose team has won five of its last six matches. "They have realized how to push forward in the most important part of the season. They did not roll over without a fight. Notre Dame was just the better team tonight."
Contact Patrick MacCoon at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PMacCoon.