ELMHURST – IC Catholic’s girls volleyball team only has three seniors on its roster, but those three seniors are essential to the team.
Thanks to the trio of Delaney D’Amore, Rory Manion and Kimmy Martino, the Knights are headed to the Class 2A state semifinals, which are scheduled for noon Friday in Normal.
D’Amore leads the team in both kills and digs, a rare offensive and defensive combination, but that’s a trait all three share. The seniors account for 85.1 percent of the team’s kills, 90.8 percent of all assists and 65.8 percent of the digs.
“The three seniors, you can’t say enough about them,” IC coach Jean Field said. “They’re all really great players, but I think what makes them stand out is that they’re great leaders. Each one of them brings something a little bit different to the plate. They all work so well together. Their persona just helps the whole team raise up. They bring the people around them up and they really encourage the younger players.”
Thanks in large part to the seniors, IC has dropped just one set in the five playoff victories leading up to state. The Knights were taken to three games in a sectional semifinal against Dakota, last year’s 2A runner-up.
In the sectional final, IC defeated Oregon 25-17, 25-17 with 13 kills and 10 digs from D’Amore, 10 kills and three aces from Manion and 28 assists from Martino. The Knights performed well despite having to make the trip all the way to South Beloit, located north of Rockford on the Wisconsin border.
In Saturday’s supersectional at Lisle High School, the Knights dominated Morgan Park Academy 25-14, 25-13 to advance to state for the first time since 1993. IC is guaranteed its first trophy since 1989 and will be looking to win the program’s first state title since 1984 when the Knights head to Redbird Arena in Normal. The state championship match is at 1:55 p.m. Saturday.
“They’re very excited,” Field said. “They are focused on what they have to do.”
In Normal, the Knights will have to take on a 36-1 team that won 2A last year. Deer Creek-Mackinaw is located just a half hour west of Redbird Arena and Field admitted they were unable to scout the Lady Chiefs’ supersectional in Decatur.
“I think we’re definitely the underdog going into this, but we’ll go on and play our best,” Field said. “At the beginning of the year when we sat down and went over team goals, [getting to state] was definitely one of them.”