Lady Chiefs advance to Final Four
Three days after winning the Class 1, District 14 Tournament, the Santa Fe Lady Chiefs swept through two opponents at Mound City to reach the Final Four for the third straight year.
Kinsey Harms' Lady Chiefs rolled through their two foes on Saturday, hammering I-70 Conference rival Orrick 25-7, 25-14 in the sectional round.
Lexi Smith paced the Lady Chiefs' attack with 11 kills, three blocks, two digs and one service ace. Kylie Limback added seven kills, three assists and five saves. Courtney Bishop finished with three spikes and Mikiah Zumalt two. Brooke Barnett registered one kill, 12 helpers and three digs.
Lauren Wiggins dished out 10 assists and had two blocks and one dig. Kenzie Phillips recorded two assists and four digs.
In the quarterfinal, the Lady Chiefs whipped Midway 25-12, 25-18. The Lady Vikings had reached the quarterfinal by downing the host school 26-24, 25-20 in the other sectional.
Smith pounded 18 kills and added two blocks and eight digs. Limback finished with 11 kills, two blocks, two digs and one ace. Wiggins wound up with four spikes, one block, three digs and 20 assists. Bishop added two kills.
Zumalt came through with one spike, one block and one assist, while Barnett dished out 11 assists and had three digs. Phillips registered three assists and four digs.
"The girls came to play," Harms said. "The attitudes are the best I've ever seen them. Each player has improved tremendously throughout the season."
The Lady Chiefs, 29-3-2, will face Leopold (29-4-1), Winona (27-9) and Osceola (25-5-3) at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau in pool play Friday. The top two teams from pool play will play for the state title. The third-and fourth-place teams in pool action will be relegated to play for third place.
The Lady Chiefs will open pool play Friday at 10 a.m. versus Leopold. The Lady Chiefs also play Winona at noon and Osceola at 2 p.m.
The third-place match is set for 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. The championship match is at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
"We have a lot to do this week to prepare for Leopold, Winona, and Osceola," Harms said. "The girls are ready for revenge on Osceola.
"Everyone is going to bring their 'A' game (this) weekend. We are going to prepare for that with lots of passing and block coverage.
"Hopefully, everything will fall into place. They know they have to win their pool play games on Friday for a chance at the championship. That's what we're going for."
It was not as good a feeling for Aaron Marsh and the Saint Paul Lady Saints at the Class 2 sectional at Bishop LeBlond High School in St. Joseph Saturday.
The Lady Saints dropped the sectional match to Summit Christian Academy (SCA) in three sets.
SCA won the first set 25-21, and the Lady Saints took the second set 25-20. SCA won the match with a 25-22 decision in the decisive third set.
"This was one of the most back-and-forth games I have been a part of," Marsh said. "There were several long rallies that played out for a while."
Becca Roepe paced the Lady Saints' attack with 15 kills and five blocks. Bre Vogelsmeier finished with six kills and Tiffany Bennett five kills and 23 digs.
"Our hitters were able to keep the pressure on them rather than them forcing us to make plays over and over again," Marsh said of the win in the second set.
Shannon Peters supplied 22 assists, Gabby Kueck four service aces and Hadley Rolf 20 digs.
The Lady Saints fought back from a 21-13 deficit in the third set to get within 24-22 before SCA earned the match-clinching point.
"The girls played extremely hard without a doubt," Marsh said. "We just had some moments where we didn't put it all together, and that is crucial against a solid defensive team."
Bishop LeBlond advanced to the quarterfinal opposite SCA with a 25-19, 25-14 victory over Cole Camp.
In the quarterfinal, SCA downed LeBlond 25-23, 25-18 to advance to the Final Four. SCA is 21-8-4.
Other teams who will be at the Final Four are St. Pius X (Festus) (27-7-2), Hermann (23-13) and Fair Grove (28-6).
Marsh is hopeful the Lady Saints can use this experience to keep building for the future.
"We've got five girls who got valuable experience on the varsity level this year, so we will see if we can find a piece or two to fit in."
The Lady Saints, who finished the season 27-10, will lose Rolf, Vogelsmeier, Sydney Bredehoeft and Alyssa Hamblen to graduation.
Class 1, District 14
The top-seeded Lady Chiefs advanced to the championship match with a straight-set victory over La Monte 25-5, 25-12.
Concordia, the second-seeded team, won its way to the championship match with a 25-15, 25-10 triumph over No. 3-seeded Sweet Springs.
Cailey Cooper had three spikes, one block, 12 digs and four service points and Gloria Guier three kills, one block, five digs and four points to pace the Lady Orioles. Grace Stumbaugh added two kills, one dig and two points and Mallory Scherer two spikes, four digs, five assists, one ace and three points.
Brittany Reinwald finished with one kill, six helpers, five digs, one ace and two points and Cassidy Brockman one kill, three digs and one point. Hannah Hon finished with one ace and six digs, Meredith Scherer 10 digs and Shelby Spalding nine digs.
Leading the Lady Greyhounds were Olivia Loges with four kills and one ace and Ashtin Hunter with two spikes. Megan Evans dished out eight assists. Ashleigh Bright added two aces and two digs.
In the championship tilt, the Lady Orioles had their chances. But Santa Fe proved to be too powerful.
The Lady Orioles rebounded from an 11-3 deficit to tie the first set 11-11. But Santa Fe scored the next nine points and rolled to a 25-13 verdict.
Concordia started fast in the second set, leading as much as 10-3. Again, the Lady Chiefs responded, this time with a run to knot the set 11-11.
Once the Lady Chiefs took the lead, they pulled away from a 25-17 victory.
These matches were last Wednesday in Alma.
The Lady Chiefs were led by Limback with eight kills, two blocks, four digs and one ace and Smith with eight spikes, four assists and one dig. Bishop added two kills, two digs, one assist and two aces.
Wiggins finished with two kills, 14 assists and one dig and Zumalt one kill. Smith added two kills, four aces and one save, Phillips four digs and Masey Peters two digs.
Stumbaugh led the Lady Orioles with five spikes, one block, four digs and six service points. Mallory Scherer finished with two kills, three assists, four digs and two points and Brockman two kills, two digs and two points.
Reinwald added one kill, five assists, four digs and one point and Guier one kill and one point. Cooper finished with 12 digs, Hon seven and Meredith Scherer four. Spalding wound up with one assists and three digs.
Class 2, District 14
The top-seeded Lady Saints mowed down No. 5-seeded Carrollton 25-14, 25-6 in the semifinal round and slipped past No. seeded and host Higginsville 23-25, 25-9, 25-14 last Wednesday.
In the victory over Carrollton, the Lady Saints were led by Roepe with seven kills. Kueck and Bennett each added three spikes.
Peters came through with 12 assists.
Roepe was the leader in the win over Higginsville, too, with 12 kills and three stuffs. Bennett added five kills and nine digs and Peters five kills and 21 helpers.
Vogelsmeier finished with four service aces and Rolf seven digs.
"We did not come out ready to pass in the first game until about halfway through," Marsh said. "By that time, it was too late."
The Lady Saints stepped up their play in the second set.
"We served aggressively and played strong offensively to keep pressure on them," Marsh said.
The Lady Saints kept applying pressure down the stretch.
"It is always great to win a district championship," Marsh said. "It is one of the team goals you always try to identify at the start of the season."