Its more than just a midweek, nondistrict match when 2014 Division I state champion Mount Carmel Academy and St. Joseph’s Academy, the 2013 champs, get together for a volleyball match.
The Division I powers met again Wednesday at St. Joseph’s for the third time this season. SJA won the first two, 3-2 at Mount Carmel and 2-1 in the Redsticker Classic, but the visiting Cubs had a dominating performance Wednesday and came away with a 3-0 win.
The set scores were 25-17, 25-14 and 25-17.
“We felt like we had a good game plan going in, and we stuck to it,” Mount Carmel coach April Hagadone said. “It was definitely a team win. We needed it since we’ve already lost to them twice.
“It just shows how much we’ve improved since the beginning of the year. They’re starting to believe now, and I’m real proud of them.”
SJA (16-9) had the home court, and its usual spirited following, with many of its boisterous student fans dressed in sombreros and other bright garb for the Latino-themed game, but the Cubs had a potent offense, led by four-year starter Kristen Nuss and two 6-1 front liners, senior Marissa Lagasse and freshman Ellie Holzman.
Mount Carmel (24-4) took an early lead in the first two sets, going ahead 5-4 in the first and 4-3 in the second and never trailing again in either set. In the first it was the power game of Nuss, Lagasse and Holzman that helped the visitors pull away.
In the second, the Redstickers were their own worst enemy as they compounded their problems with a variety of errors. In one sequence they were outscored 7-1, gave up an ace, netted two balls and had two net violations.
The third set was even until the Cubs pulled away to a 10-7 lead. SJA made a late surge behind two kills by Elyse Gasperecz, but a 4-0 run with Holzman recording a kill and Lagasse scoring three straight points on two kills and a nice placement shot put the set out of reach, and Nuss ended it with her 15th kill.
“Kristen is our only four-year letterman, and she’s stepped up in her senior year,” Hagadone said. “She is really starting to lead this team.”
Lagasse had nine blocks for Mount Carmel, while Kierstan Perry had 20 assists, and Kellie Kampen had 25 digs.
Gasperecz led the Redstickers with nine kills, 13 digs and 16 assists. Alexis Toney had three kills and 18 digs, while Melanie Miller had 16 digs. Elizabeth Landry and Megan Welsh each had six kills, and Welsh added nine digs.
“(Mount Carmel) really controlled the match (Wednesday),” SJA coach Sivi Miller said. “They played sound defense and their attack at the net was very aggressive, and we gave them many holes to hit into.
“When these two programs get together, they always feel like they have something to prove. It doesn’t matter how many prior matches you’ve won, you want to win this match, and they played very well today.”