By Steve Robinson | October 23, 2018 - 10:11 pm

NORMAL – University High’s top seeded Volleyball team swept Central Catholic in two games of the Class 3A Regional the Saints hosted Tuesday, earning a shot at the event’s championship. The Pioneers advanced to Thursday’s championship match by beating 7th seed BCC with scores of 26-24 and 25-18. The Pioneers will take on Manteno Thursday night. Manteno swept Fairbury Prairie Central by scores of 30-28 and 25-14.

U-High Takes Game One, 26-24: In game one, the top seed Pioneers and 7th seed Saints matched each other point for point until U-High pulled away thanks to a pair of kills – one by Alyanna Crabtree and one by Jess McDowell – to pull in front, 18-14, prompting BCC head coach Teresa Ulrich to call a timeout. Following the timeout, a Pioneers driving the ball into the net followed by a kill by senior middle hitter Morgan Koch cut the Pioneers’ lead to two, 19-17.

Saints sophomore outside hitter Abby Cox delivered two serves which proved problematic for U-High, the first was shot into the net while the second fell short of it, allowing BCC to tie the game at 20-20, prompting Pioneers head coach Michael Bolhuis to call timeout. The game would tie two more times, at 22-all and 24-all before U-High would overcome serves by Saints senior outside hitter Mallory Bergbower to take the first contest.

Pioneers Overcome Saints’ Streaks In Game Two, 25-18: University High struggled through the first part of the second game, leading briefly, 2-1 before BCC tied the game at 2-all, and with Cox serving, went on a four-point unanswered streak, taking a 6-2 lead until a Pioneers kill cut that lead, 6-3. U-High crept into an 8-all tie before a kill by junior setter Isobel Schaefbauer helped give them a one-point lead, 9-8, which they stretched into a 10-8 lead forcing BCC head coach Teresa Ulrich to take a timeout.

From there, the score would be tied once more at 10-all, but with junior outside hitter Alayna Crabtree and junior defensive specialist Skyler Jenkins serving, the Pioneers were able to advance to an 18-11 advantage. A kill each from Saints junior defensive specialist Ellie Nelson and U-High’s Tongate pushed U-High into a 22-15 lead. Crabtree, with her team up, 24-18, delivered U-High’s last serve which BCC returned but failed to keep in bounds leading to the final score, giving the Pioneers a sweep and a shot at the Regional crown provided they won against Manteno.

The victory advances U-High’s record going into the Regional Championship at 27-7. BCC’s season ends with a 21-15 record. Crabtree registered 6 kills while McDowell had 5 for U-High. McDowell also served three aces. Their teammate, senior setter Macy Tongate had 12 assists and three blocks. Junior defensive specialist Logan Murray had 4 digs.

While BCC had no aces, Cox scored 10 service points. Bergbower had 9 kills, followed by 7 from senior middle hitter Morgan Koch. Junior setter Kate Moorman-Wolfe lent 22 assists and had one block. Bergbower also had a block. Senior middle blocker Lauren O’Donnell had 9 digs followed by junior defensive specialist Sydney Adams’ 8.

“We knew BCC would try sending the ball to senior middle hitter Morgan Koch when they could and we didn’t do a very good job of slowing her down at all,” U-High’s Bolhuis said. “It was neck-and-neck, and kind of a high tension match all the way through,” Bolhuis said, giving credit to the seniors on his team with using their experience to get their team through the match and overcoming moments when they trailed.

BCC’s Ulrich said she reminded her team “U-High’s going to walk in here without any doubt they will walk out of here with a victory and I told our girls we have to do the same thing. In order to stay in this game, we’re going to have to be aggressive and fast at the net and if that means our middle hitters need to block, then that’s it.”

Ulrich said her team executed that plan well in game one, but she admitted, “Unfortunately, in game two, our nerves got the better of us because as soon as U-High started to come back, we started to retreat.”

By Steve Robinson | March 10, 2018 - 10:02 pm
Posted in Category: Central Catholic, The Normalite

PEORIA – The way Bloomington Central Catholic head coach Jason Welch saw his team’s Illinois High School Association Class 2A Championship game against Pinckneyville, the Saints wanted to issue a challenge to the Panthers.

But when BCC (25-7) went from leading 7-6 after a free throw by senior forward Patrick Rahuba at 5:14 in the first quarter to owning a 12-6 lead courtesy of another Rahuba charity stripe shot over three minutes later, it looked as though the challenge might have been too great for the Panthers, as the Saints registered a 69-61 victory to come in 3rd place in the Class.

“I’m just extremely proud of these guys,” BCC head coach Jason Welch said during the postgame news conference. “They’ve worked extremely hard and the guys off the bench did a great job. Our kids came out today and we gave Pinckneyville a challenge.” Going into the second quarter, BCC owned a 14-8 lead.

Only a three by senior guard Grant Jausel cutting BCC’s lead, 21-15, at 4:59 in the second quarter, followed by a Jausel jumper that made BCC’s lead, 23-17 seemed the closest the Panthers would come in the first half before BCC would go on a 5-0 run which helped stretch the Saints lead, 28-17, at the 2:52 mark. Fouls by Pinckneyville (31-4) sent senior guard Elijah Davis to the line making the Saints lead, 30-18, on the way to a 35-20 halftime lead.

A layup by senior guard Austyn Ellison, free throws by fouled junior guard Luke Yoder, and a trey from senior forward Jack Gilmore had BCC owning a 42-25 lead at the 4:58 mark in the third quarter. But threes by Jausel and sophomore guard Dawson Yates, plus a deuce from Jausel allowed the Panthers to come within nine, 49-40, with 1:29 left in the quarter. An Ellison trey with 35 seconds left restored BCC’s double-digit lead as the fourth quarter began, 52-40.

But the fourth quarter began with BCC’s lead reduced to seven on an unanswered trey and deuce by senior forward Kyle Luke, giving the Saints a 52-45 lead with 7:28 left. The Panthers came within four, 56-52, thanks free throws and a trey by senior guard J. C. Moll and a jumper by Kyle. The Panthers came within three – their closest margin, 64-61 – on a Jausel layup at the 1:23 mark. But after that, beginning with a pair of free throws by senior guard James Morris, BCC finished the game on a 5-0 run.

Ellison and Gilmore scored 10 points each for BCC. Pinckneyville had four players in double figures led by Moll’s 16 points, followed by 15 from Yates, 14 from Jausel, and 10 from senior forward Tyler Rice.

Welch credited senior leadership from Rahuba, Ellison, Morris, Gilmore, Davis, forward Owen Talbott, and center Garrison Kear for the success his team had throughout the season which led the team getting to State.

“Everybody stepped up defensively,” Ellison said during the postgame news conference.

“It feels amazing to be finishing with a win, but knowing that it’s my last time to play with my brothers, these guys aren’t just my teammates, they’re my best friends,” said Eli Davis. “It feels good that we got to leave a legacy and that we got to finish on top.”

Pinckneyville head coach Bob Waggoner admitted the news conference would be “hard for me” because he would be losing the seniors on the team to graduation. As for the contest, Waggoner said the team’s biggest fear wasn’t losing but rather letting down the small community of just over 5,400 in Perry County in southern Illinois. Because the team is close-knit, off-and-on during the interviews, boys wiped away tears.

Waggoner said BCC “was a lot quicker, their pressure on the ball hurt us early.” He admitted it was tough to prepare for Winnebago in the semifinal Friday, and then turn around to face BCC Saturday because the two teams had decidedly different playing systems.

BCC Loses Semifinal, 60-49, To Chicago Orr: BCC had hoped to stay in front of their semifinal opponent and Class 2A reigning champion, Chicago Orr, when the two met on Friday on Peoria’s big stage. And for nearly two full quarters, the Saints pulled that off. In the first quarter, thanks to a jumper from junior forward Tommy Nelson and a trey from junior guard Luke Yoder, the Saints owned a 9-4 lead at the 5:24 mark in the period. Two free throws by Orr’s Tyronn Mosley followed by a rebound shot by senior guard James Morris kept BCC out front, 11-11-6 with 4:34 left. A trey each from senior forward Jack Gilmore and senior guard Austyn Ellison extended BCC’s lead, 17-11, with 2:55 left in the quarter en route to starting the second quarter with a 19-15 lead.

BCC (25-7 following this game) stayed in front, 26-20, on a trey by Gilmore, and 26-22, but that was followed shortly by a BCC basket by junior forward Tommy Nelson put BCC up, 28-23. That lead prompted a timeout from Orr head coach Louis Adams with 4:38 until halftime. Following the timeout, a trey and two free throws by Orr senior guard Chase Adams helped pull the Spartans within three of BCC, 32-29, giving the Saints reason to call time with 1:24 until the half. But after that, a deuce by Orr senior forward Dannie Smith and a jumper by BCC senior guard Elijah Davis a deuce by senior guard Brian Hernandez put Orr in front for the first time, 34-31 with 38 seconds in the half. But the teams would enter the half tied following a trey by Orr senior guard Brian Hernandez with 8 seconds in the quarter. The teams would enter the third quarter tied at 34-all as a result.

The beginning of the third quarter started out with Smith hitting a jumper to put Orr (29-4 after this game) up, 36-34 and from there, BCC found themselves in chase mode for the remainder of the contest despite a three in that quarter by Ellison, and deuces by senior forward Patrick Rahuba and Morris. As a result, Orr owned a 51-45 lead going into the fourth quarter.

A free throw by Orr senior forward Raekwon Drake nudged Orr’s lead to 52-45 at 6:56 in the last quarter. Free throws by Yoder sliced that lead to five, 52-47 with 4:45 left but a basket and a free throw by Drake pushed the lead to 55-47. Nelson added a deuce to cut the lead to 55-49 before free throws by Smith and Adams, and a dunk by senior guard Emanuel Oneal closed out the contest, advancing the Spartans to the title game.

Orr head coach Adams blamed falling behind BCC in the opening period to his team “not having any sense of direction. We rely on defense pretty heavily. BCC shoots the ball pretty good. For us to come out tied that we were in the second half, we couldn’t get no worse. We could only get better. In the second half, our boys came out and played like they normally do.”

“We played a really great Chicago Orr team. They’re battle-tested,” said BCC head coach Jason Welch. “They did a great job. Our kids did a nice job of resisting for as long as we could. They did a nice job. I was proud of them. We fought our brains out. Ultimately, they’re a really good basketball team and we tip our hat to them and say, ‘congratulations.’”

Despite that loss, Welch said he had a team that showed they were tough. The Saints only were outpaced on rebounds by a 14-11 count. Welch said that stat showed, “we’ve got a bunch of fighters in here. That’s what we’ve got…a bunch of fighters. The guys played their guts out, ultimately gave themselves a chance to win “ He said Orr may have made more shots than BCC, but in Welch’s words, “They didn’t out-tough us.”

By Steve Robinson | November 13, 2016 - 10:17 pm
Posted in Category: Central Catholic, The Normalite

VolleyballNORMAL – Making their second appearance at Illinois High School Association State Volleyball Tournament in two years, Bloomington Central Catholic found themselves, even with a cardboard cutout of the current Pontiff looking on, competing only to find they would be trying for a third place title by the end of action at Redbird Arena on Friday. BCC finished the season with a 31-7 record.

Loss To Mascoutah Takes A 3-Game Set: Counting this year, BCC has made its presence known at IHSA State Volleyball for two straight years. This year, the Saints encountered a tough Chicago Heights-based Marian Catholic High School team which concluded sending BCC to the third place game to face Mascoutah. But that three-game set played out like a championship match in its own right, but the Indians defeated BCC by scores of 21-25,28-26, and 23-25.

Game 1 was back and forth until kills from Maddie Hold and Kate Hoerdemann demonstrated the Saints could push forward, advancing with a 17-12 lead. Mascoutah (31-9) came within one, 20-19 off kills by Kamrynn Voypick, Lacy Albers, and Nilah Roy. An additional kill by Katirah Johnson tied the game, 20-20, prompting BCC head coach J. R. Banister to call a timeout.

After the timeout, with Allie Warfield serving, Mascoutah registered one kill while BCC committed four attack errors leading to the Indians’ first win. In game two, except for three early ties after the games started, Mascoutah took a commanding 12-7 lead which they increased to 20-16, where upon BCC, behind the serving of Maddie Malinowski and kills by Morgan Koch, achieved a 20-all tie before an Malinowski service ace put BCC up, 21-20. From there, the game would be tied five more times.

At 26-26, a Malinowski kill put BCC up by one and that was followed by an Indians attack error by Johnson, sealing the Saints victory.

The rubber game’s scoring returned to the format it had in game one, with six ties early on before Mascoutah, behind serves from Sydney Waeltz and kills from Albers and attack errors by BCC’s Hoerdemann and Emily Butt, put Mascoutah up, 13-9, prompting a timeout by BCC.

Central Catholic SaintsThe Saints found themselves pursuing throughout the contest coming within four, 24-20, when with Erika Moore serving, they closed the gap to within two, 24-22, thanks to Indians attack errors. A kill by Hoerdemann brought the Saints within one, 24-23, before Hoerdemann committed an attack error herself, leading to Mascoutah’s winning point.

For the Indians, Voypick led the set with 36 aces. Roy and Albers had 12 kills each. As a team, Mascoutah had 110 takeaways to BCC’s 108. Hold registered 36 aces while Roy and Albers had 12 kills each for Mascoutah. Hoerdemann led the Saints in kills with 16.

Mascoutah head coach Todd Gober reminded reporters afterward his team had faced BCC twice earlier in the season, which he said, helped them prepare for the contest. “We knew coming in we wanted to serve aggressively and that was a factor that was big. Bloomington chased a lot of balls and they weren’t able to use their big hitters.”

From the previous two times BCC saw Mascoutah, Banister said, the Indians made more use of their outside hitters than previously. “Other than that, overall, I felt like we played a really good game.”

Marian Catholic Overtakes BCC In Semifinals: BCC (31-6 after this game) managed to keep pace with Chicago Heights- based Marian Catholic (31-9 following this game) in the first game, but the Spartans took command in the second game of the two-game set, beating the Saints by scores of 25-21 and 25-13, to advance to the Class championship.

Game 1 began with the two sides meeting point-for-point until a serving error by Hoerdemann followed by an attack error by teammate Bailey Coffman, and a service ace from Marian Catholic’s Temliade Adyoka helped push Marian Catholic up, 17-13. From that point, BCC trailed coming within two, 21-19, thanks to a serving ace from Holt before a serving ace by Marian’s Jaya Hall and three BCC attack errors put the game out of reach of the Saints.

Game 2 became a chase early on for BCC as the Hurricanes registered four kills to push for an early 7-1 lead from which the Saints had trouble keeping pace.

BCC had 63 takeaways to 58 for Marian. The Saints registered 22 kills but were outnumbered by 26 made by the Hurricanes. Holt made 19 of 21 aces accounted for by the Saints with Moore making the other two. Marian Catholic had 25 aces – 11 each from Adyoka and Jordan Piekarski.

“We knew Bloomington was good and served extremely well, “said Marian Catholic head coach Ryan Sommers. “They brought some good heat. We were surprised that their outside hitters moved the ball around a little bit more.”

“We have a good group of seniors,” BCC’s Banister said. “Our seniors have been leaders all year long, but they’ll help us regroup for the first place game.”

BasketballBLOOMINGTON – Bloomington Central Catholic dropped a 60-50 decision in the championship game of the Small School Boys’ bracket at the State Farm Bloomington-Normal Holiday Classic on Dec.31.

Fifth seeded BCC defeated 12th seed Peoria Christian, 78-55; beat fourth seed St. Joseph Ogden, 63-58, and dethroned top seed Rockford Lutheran, 48-42 to get to the final game, while 2nd seed QND doubled up on Prairie Central in round one, 64-32; beat St. Joseph Ogden, 63-58 in round two; and beat Stanford Olympia, 59-43, in their semifinal, to get to the title contest.

State Farm Holiday ClassicIn a contest held at Shirk Center on Illinois Wesleyan University’s campus, BCC was able to keep pace with QND in the first quarter, on the strength of threes from senior John Rave, junior Matt Barnes, and sophomore James Morris, allowing QND only a two-point edge, 17-15, going into the second quarter.

But as that second quarter began, threes by junior guards Carter Cramsey, Johnny Ray, and a layup from senior forward Tanner Stuckman pushed QND out to a 29-20 advantage at 2:36 until halftime. That lead jumped to 31-20 when Stuckman struck again just over a minute later. The Raiders’ defense got impatient with 5.6 seconds left as QND junior forward Justin Bottorff fouled BCC senior Jake Baughman, who sank two free throws, closing QND’s lead, 36-22 going into halftime.

Sophomore Austyn Ellison opened the third quarter for BCC with a basket, pulling the Saints within 12, 36-24. But Ray and Stuckman combined for five unanswered points, pushing QND ahead, 41-24, at 5:24 left in the period. At that point, BCC went on the first of two scoring runs – an 8-0 streak – as junior Jacob Gilmore, Rave, and Baughman hit buckets and Rave adder a free throw to pull BCC within 11, 42-31, at the 2:46 mark.

Central CatholicBCC’s second scoring rush came from baskets from Gilmore ad Baughman and two Baughman free throws. QND’s lead, as a result, was cut to nine, 46-37, going into the fourth quarter.

A Baughman free throw opened the fourth quarter, cutting QND’s advantage, 46-38. After that, baskets by junior Jacob Mayfield and Stuckman, complimented with free throws by senior guard Aubrey Reis put QND up, 52-40 with 5:01 remaining, had BCC head coach Jason Welch call time. After that, BCC outscored QND, 10-3, coming within five, 55-50, with 2:11 remaining. That close a margin had QND head coach Kevin Meyer calling for time to consider his team’s options.

Quincy Notre DameBut after that time out, BCC fell into foul trouble, as four different QND players went to the free throw line to successfully score 5-of-8 free shots, resulting in the final score. Mayfield led QND with 18 points, followed by 16 from Stuckman. Rave and Baughman led BCC’s effort, with 16 points, and 15, respectfully.

“Overall, it was a good win for us,” QND’s Meyer said. “Overall, I’m very proud of my guys. BCC ratcheted up their defense in the third quarter, and we just needed to be a little bit stronger.”

“Quincy Notre Dame dictated all the terms in the game,” BCC’s Welch told reporters afterward. “They were able to get whatever they wanted whenever they wanted. I didn’t think our kids responded very well, especially on our defensive end.”

VolleyballNORMAL – Bloomington Central Catholic High School’s road to their first State trophy in Volleyball needed to go through an undefeated squad from Orion when the two sides met for a Class 2A matchup at Redbird Arena on Saturday, Nov. 14. At points in the two-game match, the Saints were kept down by Orion’s defense but a dramatic come-from-behind turn in the second match helped BCC earn the school its first-ever State title in the sport. BCC defeated Orion, 25-20 and 25-21.

The first contest was tied five times, the last tie coming at 13-13 before BCC (35-5) began pulling away on a ball handling error by Orion’s Ashton Lee, a serving ace by Carlie Zafziger, and a kill from Kate Hoerdemann, putting BCC in front, 17-14. With Hoerdemann serving, kills from Maddie Malinowski and Erika Moore upped the Saints’ advantage, 22-16 before Saints’ attack errors allowed the Chargers to close in during the match, 22-16. Two final kills by Hoerdemann closed out the contest.

Game 2 ran in a similar fashion with serves by Orion’s Taylor McCunn baffling BCC enough to let the Chargers jump out to an early 4-1 lead. Serves by BCC’s Nafziger and Holt helped the Saints keep pace as the game saw four ties – the last one at 13-13 – before BCC went on a four-point spree to lead, 17-13. Behind serves by Macy Hancock, Orion (40-1) pulled within two, 18-16. But BCC would get two more points, increasing the Saints’ lead, 20-16, prompting Orion head coach Jack Wheeler to call a time out.

But BCC kept rolling, holding Orion back spoiling the chance at a perfect season while earning a first trophy in the sport in school history.

BCC outpaced Orion in digs, 75-58. Holt led all players with 26 assists, with only Orion’s Hancock coming closest in that category with 15. Malinowski scored 10 points and had 10 kills to lead BCC. Hoerdemann had two serving aces while Nafziger had one. Lee led Orion in scoring with 12½ points. Hancock led her team in assists with 15. McCunn contributed her team’s lone serving ace. BCC took total take aways by a 110-106 tally.

Central Catholic“We’ve been down in other games we’ve had to get here,” BCC head coach J. R. Banister said. “We just had to talk about staying in control and getting our passes down. That would get our middle hitters involved again and go back to running our offense.”

“We’ve been working for this for the whole season, and we’ve just been working really hard lately,” Malinowski said. “It’s just awesome.”

Orion’s seniors, disappointed by the loss were teary-eyed during their postgame news conference at the thought of not ever playing together again, Wheeler said. “Today, Bloomington was a little bit better than we were. We played a good match. We played hard. We never quit.”

Saints Hold Off Timothy Christian In Semifinal: BCC got to the championship by taking two games from Elmhurst-based Timothy Christian High School, 25-22 and 25-21. Game 1 had both sides exchanging points early to a 10-10 tie before a kill by Bailey Coffman and two serves by Nafziger pushed the Saints up, 13-10. Timothy Christian (36-5) came within one three times –15-14, 18-17, and 22-21 – after that before the game’s last two kills for BCC by Malinowski polished off the Titans.

Game 2 looked to be an even contest with Timothy Christian’s Ava Venema committing an error putting BCC up 1-0, but then immediately following it up with a kill to tie the game at 1-all. But from there, BCC went on a 12-0 blitz with Moore serving and recording five service aces. It wasn’t until she committed a serving error that the streak ended.

But then, Timothy Christian began a run of their own behind serves by Abby Groters and a kill by Kendra Teune, cutting BCC’s lead, 14-7. Kills late in the contest from Teune, Venema, and a service error provided by Nafziger helped Timothy Christian pull within four, 23-19, and a kill by Dani VanLaten pulled them closer, 24-20, before BCC’s Maddie Holt committed a ball-handling error, cutting BCC’s lead again, 24-21. Moore provided a kill of Teune’s final serve to bring in the final score.

Malinowski’s 7 kills led BCC followed by 6 from Moore, who led the Saints in service aces with 6. Hoerdemann led in take aways with 17. Holt contributed 20 assists. Holt and Moore each had 7 digs defensively of BCC’s total 24. For Elmhurst Timothy Christian, Teune had 23 take aways and 12 kills while VanLaten provided 22 assists. Zoe Stanton had 8 digs.