Sacred Heart’s Lady Gremlin volleyball team last year lost some talented players in Kelli Lamb, Erica Stone, Johannah Hohne and Claire. They ended their season with a loss to Green Ridge in the district title match.
David Fall had a lot of work to do to put a good team on the floor. This year’s version made Fall proud, ending their season in the Class 1 State Quarterfinals with a loss to a buzz saw Winona Lady Wildcat team 25-18, 25-16 Saturday night at the Sacred Heart gym.
Earlier in the evening, the Lady Gremlins ended the Spokane Owls’ season 25-13, 25-20 in the Class 1 Sectional 2 round also at Sacred Heart.
“I was certainly hoping and thinking we could make it this far,” said Fall, whose team closed out its season 22-9-6. “I know we had some low spots early in the season, but that is because I was looking for combinations of players who could be successful.”
Sacred Heart loses senior outside hitter Sydney Smith, setter Lyndzie Brace and outside hitter Mirada Meyer to graduation.
Fall said improved passing would have given his team a chance of knocking off Winona, a team the Lady Gremlins beat in the state championship match back in 2007.
“When we got the passes to the net, we took care of it and played right with them,” sad Fall. “But when we got the ball 12 to 14 feet off the net, they took it to us.”
The purple-clad Lady Wildcats, 28-6-1, hammered 21 kills in the match, but it seemed like a lot more when they got on a roll. At times, it seemed like the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Fall was right. The Lady Gremlins opened up a 15-11 lead in the opening game on a kill by Brace.
Four Lady Wildcat kills and a Gremlin kill that sailed wide and Winona was back on top 16-15. A stuff block by Sacred Heart’s Becky Full tied the game at 16-16.
Smith had five of her nine kills and two blocks in the first game. Full had four kills and two blocks in the opening game.
Three Wildcat kills, a service ace and a lift violation on Sacred Heart made it 21-17 Winona and the Wildcats went to take the first game.
The second game was tight early. The game was knotted at 7-7, 8-8 and 9-9 before Winona pulled away.
Winona reeled off five straight points to lead 14-0 before a Smith kill assisted by Honor Kehde made it 14-10. An ace by Brace made it 14-11. A net violation on Winona cut the gap to 14-12.
The Lady Wildcats put together a 6-0 run with two aces, two kills and two Lady Gremlin kill attempts that found the net and it was 20-12.
Sacred Heart could not recover as the curtain fell on their 2012 season.
Smith had nine kills and four blocks. Full had seven kills and three blocks. Kehde dished out 14 assists.
In the first sectional match Saturday afternoon, Winona shocked previously unbeaten Ste. Genevieve Valle Catholic 25-20, 25-23. Valle Catholic, ranked #1 in Class 1, saw its season end with a 33-1 record. Coming into the sectional match Saturday, the Lady Warriors had not lost a match, or even one game.
Winona will be joined at the Class 1 Final Four by Santa Fe, Bernie and Osceola at Southeast Missouri State in Cape Girardeau this weekend. Photos by Randy Kirby, Sedalia News Journal.