Red Devils meet expectations in playoff opener
Hinsdale Tuesday 10.09.12. Hinsdale Central's Meghan McDowell sets the ball during their match against Lyons on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, in Hinsdale. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 24, 2012 1:17AM
HINSDALE — A long run in the postseason can make amends for a lot of missteps in the regular season.
That’s the hope at Hinsdale Central, anyway.
The Red Devils got their 2012 postseason off to a rousing start, routing Reavis 25-10, 25-19 in an IHSA Class 4A regional semifinal Tuesday in Hinsdale.
Hinsdale Central (11-25) will meet Whitney Young (23-8), a 25-7, 25-10 winner over Curie, for the regional title at 6 p.m. Thursday.
Six-foot-4 senior setter Meghan McDowell, who had 21 assists and a block, said the Red Devils realized after looking at the sectional pairings that they could make a long run in the playoffs.
“For us, it’s all about how we feel we can do,” she said. “We’ve been sort of run down a little bit — a lot — this season. We haven’t had a whole lot of confidence. But after we looked at our seeding in sectional and all that stuff, it sort of hit us. We can go pretty far if we can just execute and play well when we need to.”
Tuesday, Reavis (16-16) had no answer for the combination of McDowell and 5-9 senior outside hitter Coco Bergdoll, who had nine kills, two blocks and an ace.
“Coco’s such an all-around player, you can always count on her to keep the ball in play and do whatever she can to keep the ball in play,” McDowell said. “She hits whatever you put up there.
“If it’s a bad pass or it’s not a good set, she’ll put it in the court and put it in a good spot and probably get a kill,” she said. “She’s a really, really reliable player, for sure.”
Bergdoll was simply unstoppable in game one, forcing a Reavis timeout at 13-5 with a block and extending the Red Devils’ lead to 22-7 with a cross-court smash.
“I feel like we’re in a really good rhythm,” Bergdoll said. “The team is coming together, our chemistry is building a lot, and we aren’t making as many errors as we used to. We’re gaining more trust in our players.”
Bergdoll, like McDowell, believes that Hinsdale Central can make a long run in the tournament.
“With having such a rough season in the beginning, we were planning on giving it our all, going 100 percent in the playoffs,” she said. “We have no expectations on us. People don’t expect us to do well because of our record.
“I think we can just grow on that, really go far and surprise everyone,” Bergdoll said.
In game two, Hinsdale Central built a 16-6 lead before head coach Kelly Moran started going to her bench. The Rams closed to within 21-18 to force a timeout, but kills by Bergdoll and Dominique Millette restored order and the match ended on consecutive Reavis errors.
“I was proud of the girls,” Moran said. “We passed well, Meg made good setting decisions and our attackers were swinging aggressively trying to hit different shots that we’ve been working.
“We have a nice lineup right now,” she added. “The girls are starting to get into a rhythm. We’ve improved as the season has gone on and we’re peaking at the right time.”
Hinsdale Central also got four aces from Brooke Istvan, six kills from sophomore Lauren Fuller and three kills from Lucy Crofton.