The Ramblers and Hersey meet for the second time this season Monday in the Class 4A sectional semifinals at Loyola.
Although the Ramblers beat the Huskies in three sets Sept. 1 at New Trier’s invitational, Loyola head coach Mallory Thelander isn’t putting much stock into that game.
“It was a long time ago,” said Thelander, who noted Loyola senior Julia Martinez didn’t play. “Both teams are different. I’m sure they’ve made adjustments and have improved. As much as we prepare for our opponent, we try to focus most of our energy on ourselves. If we play how we are capable of playing, we will be fine.”
The No. 1 seed, Loyola (27-8) earned its spot with a 25-15, 25-16 win over Glenbrook South on Thursday in the regional final at Schaumburg. The Ramblers beat Conant 25-13, 25-18 in the regional semifinals.
In the final, Martinez led the offense with 10 kills. Senior Mary Kate Lopez finished with five kills, four aces and one block. Senior Elizabeth Ford had two kills and three blocks, while senior Lizzie Walker contributed three kills and one block. Playing only the first set, junior Jackie Yau totaled four kills and one block.
Thelander said junior libero Grace Anello’s defense from the back row was a big part of Loyola’s success against the Titans.
“Her adjustments were huge,” Thelander said. “By moving her position, she was able to get more touches on their biggest hitter.”
Hersey (28-9) is the fourth seed and got to the sectionals by beating Buffalo Grove 25-18, 25-23 in the regional final at Hoffman Estates.
In her first season, Thelander is looking to lead Loyola to its first sectional title since 2015. She said the Ramblers are excited to chase after the championship on their home court.
“It’s been a huge motivation for the girls to get to this point, especially the seniors,” Thelander said.