In the Division IV, District 3 opener for both teams, Hannan beat cross-town rival Northlake Christian 25-22, 25-14, 25-21 Tuesday afternoon.
Ranked No. 8 in the latest Advocate Small Schools Poll, the Hawks (13-3, 1-0) were led by Hailey Cabeceiras who had 19 kills. Danielle Loup added 22 digs, and Sydney Williams had four blocks and four aces. Freshman Tatum Ballard had a game-high 26 assists.
In the most competitive of all three games, Hannan broke out to a 7-2 lead in the opening set only to see the Wolverines go on a 7-2 run to tie it at 9.
Trailing 16-13, Hannan evened the game at 22 and finished off Northlake Christian by scoring the final three points to capture the first game.
Hannan rode the momentum from the opening game victory into the second game, scoring nine of the first 10 points.
Never trailing in Game 2, the lead ballooned to as much as 22-11 en route before ending at 25-14.
“The momentum from the Game 1 victory really paced us to this win,” Hannan coach Rebekka Bonnaffee said. “We didn’t play our greatest in Game 1 but were still able to come out victorious. To our team’s credit, our young squad came out and rode that momentum in Game 2 to victory and then in the third and deciding game.”
Only a freshman, Cabeceiras said it is always good to start district play with a victory.
“For sure the momentum was there,” she said. “You could really feel it, and it allowed us to break out to the big lead in Game 2 and really get a big 2-0 lead. It’s always great to start off district play with a win against a good Northlake Christian squad.”
Coming into the match ranked No. 7 in the Advocate Small Schools Poll, Northlake Christian (8-6, 0-1) was led by Lexi White who had 12 kills, two blocks and 14 digs. Eighth-grader Alaina Hardy had 10 kills, seven aces and 17 digs.
Wolverines coach Shannon Puder said her team continues to struggle with the mental aspect and it was evident in Game 2 after losing the opening set.
“Game 1 was the story of this thing,” Puder said. “I told them that if we were able to win the opening game, it would have been a completely different story in who won this match. Physically we are a great team and can contend and play with anybody as evident with the first game. However, mentally we are very young. It is my job as a coach to develop mental toughness and encourage my team.
“At this point, there is only so much a coach can do. It is going to have to come from them.”