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The Orland Park Prairie 110917

38 | November 9, 2017 |

38 | November 9, 2017 | The orland park prairie Sports Jacobs takes 6th in Class 3A, as Sandburg finishes ninth Tim Cronin, Freelance Reporter It was touted as the showdown of the Illinois High School Association’s 72nd cross country state championship, the running version of Ali vs. Frazier. Unfortunately, one of the two was under the weather. Sandburg’s Dylan Jacobs was fighting a viral infection. That he finished sixth in 14 minutes and 36 seconds on a wet and muddy course Nov. 4 at Detweiller Park in Peoria was a tribute to the senior’s pluck. Lyons’ Danny Kilrea — the other half of the showdown duo and also ticketed for the Fighting Irish — won in 14:08. Jacobs pressed him as long as he could. “It happens,” Jacobs said. “Danny, all those guys [in the Top 5] are good. I’ve got to give it to them. I’ll be back next week.” That will be an invitational race with many of leaders from the Class 3A championship, plus others from around the Midwest, in Terre Haute, Indiana. “[Kilrea] was great at the mile mark,” Jacobs said. “He took it. He just kept pushing. I started feeling it, tried to hold on and couldn’t hang on. I got to the mile mark and started feeling it, and felt it more at 1.5. I started falling back a little bit, tried to push and wasn’t able to. “Those other guys ran smart races and got me at the end. Danny, I’ve got to be happy for him. He worked hard for that, and he deserved it.” Whitney Young senior Clayton Mendez took second in 14:22, 14 seconds behind Kilrea. Jacobs could only watch from afar. Kilrea went out at a quick pace. At the halfway mark in the 3-mile test, his time was 6:55. A similar split in the second half would have brought him a state record of 13:50. Instead, Craig Virgin’s 45-year-old record of 13:50.6 still stands. “I knew he was coming after me,” said Jacobs, whose time of 14:39 at the sectional beat Kilrea by 8.4 seconds. “I just didn’t have it today. “I’m disappointed, but you’ve got to deal with it and move on.” Sandburg coach John O’Malley said Jacobs’ cold was so bad he was not even sure earlier in the week if he would put his ace in the lineup. “The whole week, I wasn’t sure if I was going to let him run,” O’Malley said. “He’ll never give an excuse in his life, but I’m pretty confident he had a shot at that course record today [if healthy]. Given where he was last week, how confident he was, how he looked physically, he was ready to take a crack at that course record. “Tuesday, he came up sick. It was the worst time. This week, all I want to do is make sure we don’t get sick or injured. But he’s got the biggest heart in the world. He was feeling awful. “He’s a once-in-a-lifetime kid. To have that kind of talent, those kind of goals, never give an excuse, always focusing on his teammates, he’s unbelievable,” said O’Malley, who also coached state champion Lukas Verzbicas. Jacobs lauded O’Malley for getting him back on Sandburg’s Dylan Jacobs (middle) trailed only eventual winner Danny Kilrea of Lyons Township in the early going in the Class 3A championship Nov. 4 at Detweiller Park in Peoria. Tim Cronin/22nd Century Media track early in the season. “I wasn’t running great at the beginning of the year, kept training, believed in my coach, and he really helped me get to the point where I am. I’ve got a couple more races left to show where I have.” By finishing sixth, Jacobs nabbed All-State recognition, which goes to the top 25 runners. The Eagles grabbed ninth as a team, with Robbie Sieczkowski (38th, 15:00), Nico Calderon (62nd, 15:14), Xander Furmanek (112th, 15:32) and Ben Giblin (132nd, 15:37) also scoring points for Sandburg. Will Giblin (135th, 15:39) and Eddie Slack (136th, 15:39) were out of the points. “We had a lot of guys PR,” Jacobs said. “It was a good day for us.” Jacobs selected Notre Dame ahead of Stanford and Illinois. Girls Volleyball Normal U proves tough for Celtics in Pontiac Sectional semifinal Randy Whalen Freelance Reporter Providence girls volleyball coach Lisa Muys was not the least bit surprised that Normal University High captured the title at the Class 3A Pontiac Sectional. That came when the Pioneers defeated Manteno 25- 20, 25-17 Nov. 1 to win their first sectional championship since 2011. Normal U-High (27-10) went on to face the host Titans in the Tinley Park Supersectional Friday, Nov. 3. “That Normal team is a good team,” Muys said. “They are tall, physical, and they are good. I don’t mind being beaten by a team that is good.” Unfortunately for Muys and the Celtics, that is what happened. They were defeated by Normal U-High 25-16, 25-16 Oct. 30 in the semifinals of the Pontiac Sectional. “It was a tough matchup,” Muys said of facing the Pioneers. “We didn’t Please see providence, 35 301511_5.5_x_5.indd 1 10/17/17 9:16 AM Sports the orland park prairie | November 9, 2017 | 39 fastbreak Girls Volleyball Eagles cannot repeat victory over Marian Catholic Spartans prove tough team to best twice in sectional semi Randy Whalen Freelance Reporter Adam Jomant/22nd Century Media 1st and 3 Serving up some extra Sandburg girls volleyball 1. Regional repeats This season, the Sandburg girls volleyball team won its 14th straight regional championship. 2. Sectional struggles Despite the regional championships, Sandburg has struggled with sectionals. The Eagles last played for a sectional title in 2013 and last won one in 2004. This season marked the fourth straight they were eliminated in the sectional semifinals. 3. Winning ways As of this season, the Eagles have won 29 or more matches 10 times over the past 12 years. Following last week’s sectional semifinal match, Marian Catholic girls volleyball coach Ryan Summers tossed out a tidbit. “Sandburg was the only in-state opponent outside of our conference to beat us this season,” Summers said. “We lost four matches to [East Suburban Catholic Conference] teams and two to out of state opponents.” Unfortunately for Sandburg, that win was at the start of the season, not the end of it. Instead, it was Marian Catholic that ended the Eagles’ season with a 25-21, 25-21 victory Oct. 30 in the second semifinal of the Class 4A Andrew Sectional. Sandburg (29-9) still found plenty to like about its season. “We wanted to see the improvement this season and we did,” Sandburg coach David Vales said. “We were bringing back almost everybody. We didn’t win the [SouthWest Suburban Blue Conference], as Lincoln-Way East got us early. But everywhere else, we improved. “We took third at the Plainfeld North Invite, third at the Wheaton-Warrenville South Invite, went 3-2 at ASICS and won the [Maine West] Pumpkin Tournament. Sandburg’s Evy Makris spikes the ball against Marian Catholic defenders. Those were better than we did at those tournaments the previous year.” The third-place match at the Plainfield North Tournament Aug. 26 was actually where the Eagles defeated Marian Catholic 21-25, 25- 20, 25-20. But in the sectional, it was the Spartans who pulled away down the stretch of both matches. The first set was tied at every point through 3-3. Then, the Eagles took advantage of five Marian Catholic errors in a 6-1 run to go up 9-4. But the Spartans chipped away and tied it at 13-13 on an ace by junior outside hitter Temitayo Thomas-Ailara. Still, Sandburg came back with back-to-back kills by senior middle hitter Madison Hart and, following a Spartans point, one by junior outside hitter Erica Staunton (team-high 8 kills) to go ahead 16-14. But Marian Catholic came back with a trio of points, including an ace by senior setter/right side hitter Temilade Adekoya to take its first lead of the match at 17-16. The Eagles tied it at 17-17 and 18-18, but never regained the lead. That was thanks to Thomas- Ailara thumping three straight kills in a 6-0 run for a 24-18 Spartans advantage. Thomas- Ailara finished with a matchhigh 15 kills. Junior middle hitter Evy Makris answered with a kill for the Eagles, who saved a trio of set points. But another Thomas-Ailara attack ended the opener. “You can’t try to move a defense against that until you’re out there,” Vales said of the power hits from Thomas-Ailara. “She’s just hard to contain. We had it rolling and got some kills in the middle, but then we struggled with serve receive.” That was especially the case in the second set. Sandburg scored the first point, but the Spartans came back Sandburg’s Maureen Imrie serves the ball Oct. 30 at Andrew High School during a sectional semifinal against Marian Catholic. Photos by Adam Jomant/22nd Century Media with five straight, the last four of them on aces by senior right side/middle hitter Nailah Jones (7 aces). Trailing 6-2, the Eagles came back with a 5-0 run, as Staunton smashed three of her kills and went ahead 7-6. The set was nip-and-tuck from there, as it featured 12 ties and seven lead changes. Sandburg did have some 2-point advantages, the last at 18-16, and led 20-19 on a kill by senior outside hitter Abbie Stefanon (6 kills). But a block by junior outside hitter Lauren Hatch (7 kills) and consecutive kills by Thomas-Ailara gave the Spartans the lead for good. A serve into the net gave the Eagles life, as they pulled back to within a point at 22- 21. But once again Thomas- Ailara aimed a perfect kill, and Jones closed it out with a pair of aces. “They have a lot of good hitters and their outside,” Staunton said. “[Thomas- Ailara] is amazing. [Marian Catholic] is just really good overall. We had a really good season. We were all familiar with each other and we still have a lot coming back [next year].” Junior libero Jaya Hall contributed 11 digs for the Spartans. Senior setter Maureen Imrie (18 assists) and sophomore libero Rachel Krasowski (6 digs) also chipped in for Sandburg. Hart, Imrie, and Stefanon were three-year varsity players. The Eagles had six seniors in total, with Katie Decker, Teresa Egan and Lauren Gausselin also graduating from this season’s squad. “I’m really sad,” Stefanon said of it ending. “We had a kind of a rough year last year, but we had a good season [this year]. I’ll miss the girls, my best friends. There are just a lot of good memories.” LISTEN UP “We had a kind of a rough year last year, but we had a good season [this year]. I’ll miss the girls, my best friends. There are just a lot of good memories.” Abbie Stefanon — Sandburg girls volleyball senior, on the end of the team’s season What 2 Watch Hockey — 6:15 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11 • The Eagles varsity squad is slated to take on Naperville Central at All Seasons Red. INDEX 35 - Pressbox Picks 34 - Athlete of the Week Compiled by Editor Bill Jones,