If you’ve seen Mother McAuley this winter, you may have noticed that the senior guard Maeve Egan.
She’s the one who’s always smiling, no matter the situation, whether it’s meeting with the referees before the game as captain or with her teammates in a tough situation down the stretch.
This is his leadership style for the Mighty Macs, according to the senior forward Morgan Feil.
“We all joke about it,” Feil said of Egan. “Practices, games, he always has a smile on his face. “She is smiling, happy and motivated, and I think that really helps the team.”
Egan helped his team again Monday night when McAuley opened the Class 4A playoffs with a 58-30 victory over Richards in a Lyons Regional semifinal game in La Grange.
Feil led all scorers with 17 points for the Mighty Macs (24-7), while sophomore guard quinn arundel contributed 12. Egan scored six points with a pair of 3-pointers and added three steals.
But she did much more than that. Take the third quarter, for example, when her stellar defensive play led to two key turnovers for McAuley that combined perfectly with a 17-1 run.
However, we are in the postseason and for Egan there is also that sense of urgency that one would expect. For example, she wasn’t exactly happy with her team’s somewhat slow start.
“We started very slow,” he said. “It wasn’t how we wanted our game to look. We got it back in the second half and it was good. It was a good victory, but we were not satisfied.
“We want to move forward.”
For the record, he said that last part with a look of serious determination.
Richards (11-16), meanwhile, received eight points and seven rebounds from the senior guard. Iyanah Crosby. But no one else on the Bulldogs scored more than four points.
Curtis Lewiswho is in his second year as coach of the Mighty Macs, didn’t know much about Egan joining the position, but learned very quickly about his infectious personality.
“When I first came to McAuley, that was one of the things I noticed about her,” he said. “People lead in different ways. “I think for her it’s a smiling situation when it could be a two-point game in the fourth quarter where the team can relax somewhat.”
As a seventh grader in 2019, Egan watched McAuley finish as state runner-up in Class 4A.
The player Egan identified with was the point guard. Jenna Badali, who led the Mighty Macs with 13 points in a 58-46 loss to Maine West in the championship game. Badali now plays for Lewis.
“I went to that state game and saw her,” Egan said of Badali. “I liked how he played and how competitive he was.
“The atmosphere was just crazy. McAuley’s student section really isn’t like any other school.”
Egan also played volleyball for McAuley, winning state not once but twice.
She wants to experience that one more time before going on to play basketball at St. Xavier and study communication sciences and disorders, with plans to become a speech pathologist.
“It’s a feeling like no other, really,” Egan said of winning back-to-back state titles. “People exaggerate it, but it’s really worth it.
“Morgan and I talked to the team at the beginning of the season and said we want to experience this with you guys and make it to state.”
The next few weeks will test your leadership skills, but your smile should translate into victories.
“I may not be the most vocal, but the energies feed off each other,” she said. “And this game is a momentum game a lot of times.
“If I’m positive and keep everyone going, everyone will be positive.”
Gregg Voss is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.