The St. Pius X Lady Warriors are not perennial Class 3 state volleyball championship contenders for nothing.
For most of the short evening at the Smith-Cotton gym Monday night, St. Pius spread four blockers across the width of the net and dared the Lady Tigers to hit through them to get a win in a key West Central Conference matchup for both squads.
The strategy worked — for the Lady Warriors that is. The Lady Warriors, last year’s runner-up to Villa Duchese of St. Charles at the Class 3 state championships, rolled to an easy 25-16, 25-11 win over the Lady Tigers.
With four of six starters back from last year’s state runner-up team, St. Pius improved to 16-3-1 overall and 4-1 in the West Central Conference. S-C slipped to 15-4-2 overall but more importantly fell to 4-2 in the conference race with four WCC matches left, including road matches at the top two teams in the conference, St. Pus and O’Hara. O’Hara has yet to lose in conference, having already beaten St. Pius and S-C.
The Lady Warriors started the first game with five straight kills before S-C’s Abby Knight registered her first and only kill of the night to get S-C within 5-1.
Try as they might, S-C was just not quick enough to get their offense set before the Lady Warriors got their blockers set up. Even when S-C did hit a ball over the wall of blockers, Pius was quick enough and talented enough to return almost everything hit at them. St. Pius rarely, if ever failed to get a hand on a Lady Tiger hit, at least enough of a touch to slow the ball down and let their back row defense to work the ball back to the net in quick transition.
S-C was able to climb back into the opening game at 8-6 on two straight kills by freshman Bailey Curry, who led S-C in kills with five on the night.
The Lady Warriors built the lead back to 11-6 but S-C crawled back within 11-10 when St. Pius mishit a kill.
But from that point on, it was all St. Pius. The Lady Warriors went on an 8-2 run to lead 19-12 and it never got any closer.
The look of frustration on the Lady Tigers’ faces between games was evident. S-C had hit everything they had at the Warriors and had little to show for it. They struggled to hit through the blockers.
St. Pius scored the first two points of the second game, prompting S-C Coach Kristin Miller to get a quick time out. Pius extended the lead to 4-0 after the timeout, but S-C’s Lauren Lansing got a kill to get S-C on the board at 4-1 and Knight and Maddy Foster combined on a double block to get the Lady Tigers within 4-2.
The Lady Warriors went on a 12-1 run to lead 16-3. That was more than they needed on the way to an easy win.
The visiting Lady Warriors made it a clean sweep on the night with a 25-16, 25-6 win in the freshman match and a 25-20, 25-14 win in the junior varsity match. Photos by Randy Kirby, Sedalia News Journal.