St. Joseph’s Academy and Mount Carmel Academy renewed their rivalry in the final of the SJA Red-Hot Sticker Classic on Saturday, and this time St. Joseph’s prevailed in three sets, 25-22, 18-25 and 15-10.
The match brought the Redstickers record to 19-1, with the lone loss coming at the hands of Mount Carmel. The Cubs’ record is 25-2, with both losses to SJA. The teams have split the past four Classic championships, with the Cubs winning in 2010 and 2011 and SJA taking the past two titles.
“They’re a great team, and we’re a great team, too,” Mount Carmel coach April Hagadone said. “I told our girls it could go either way, and it would come down to whoever wanted it most at the end. We gave up a little bit after we had the momentum in the first set, but I was proud of the way we came back in the second set.
“(SJA) definitely controlled the net in the third set.”
St. Joseph’s trailed much of the first two sets. The score was tied five times in the first set, but the Redstickers didn’t take the lead until Kaitlun Bridges’ kill gave them a 22-21 advantage. After Katie Kampen recorded a kill to tie the score again, SJA capitalized on three straight Mt. Carmel errors to claim the first set.
Bridges stepped into a starting role after outside hitter Katherine Young suffered an ankle injury earlier in the tournament.
“The girls showed a lot of character after we lost one of our starters,” St. Joseph’s coach Sivi Miller said. “The team really stepped it up, and we played well today.”
Mount Carmel regained the momentum midway through the second set behind the strong net play of seniors Kampen and Megan Davenport.
Kampen recorded six kills, including a kill for the final point that capped a 9-3 run.
The Redstickers came out on fire in the third set. With setter Elise Gasperecz serving, they reeled off five straight points featuring a block by Hannah Rovira on a Kampen kill followed by a kill of her own and another kill by Sydney Davis.
Mount Carmel could not score more than one point at a time before SJA went up by seven at 12-5. The Cubs trimmed the lead to 13-10, but another kill by Rovira and a mis-hit gave St. Joseph’s the set and the championship.
“(The third set) was awesome,” Rovira said. “The defense was blocking and the offense was attacking. We knew we had to pick it up. It was only to 15 (points), so we knew we had to start fast, and we did.”
Rovira had 14 kills and six blocks while Madison Daigle recorded 12 kills and eight blocks. Gasperecz contributed to most of the kills with 26 assists. Libero Melanie Miller had 13 digs, and Davis had a strong all-around match with four kills, seven digs, five blocks and a ace.
Kampen (16) and Davenport (15) led the Cubs in kills. Jillian Clark had 28 assists, and Kristen Nuss and Kellie Kampen had 15 digs apiece.