St. Joseph’s Academy picked up another volleyball victory Tuesday night by sweeping Episcopal in three sets at EHS.
Defending Division I state champion SJA improved to 12-1 following 25-8, 25-20 and 25-16 victories over surging EHS (11-2)
Despite the loss, EHS third-year coach Briget Melancon found many positives from playing the Redstickers.
“We have not played at that speed yet until tonight,” Melancon said. “It’s hard to simulate that in practice. SJA is very good, and we competed. We got better every game. My girls can’t wait to practice Wednesday. They’re excited. We know what we need to work on now.”
SJA jumped out to a 9-2 lead in the first set. Episcopal cut the deficit to 12-6 following a tip by senior Charlotte Russell. The Redstickers scored the next seven points to pull away.
SJA led the second set 8-2 following an ace by senior Katherine Young, who filled out the stat sheet with 12 kills, seven digs, two aces and three blocks. The Knights fought back to tie things at 14 on senior Erika Grant’s ace. SJA scored the next three points. EHS tied it at 19 on Ali Mitchell’s block. Young had the game-winning kill.
SJA led 5-0 in the third set and pushed the lead to 15-6 following Hanna Rovira’s kill. Episcopal rallied within 16-15 as Rachel Misher and Courtney Gregoire combined for three blocks. Young scored three points as SJA went on a 7-0 run with Melissa Currier serving.
“The first set we came out real strong,” SJA coach Sivi Miller said. “In the second and third set, I was very impressed with Episcopal. They made some adjustments. Their defense was picking up some balls. They were good competitive games.”
Rovira added 11 kills and three blocks for SJA. Senior Madison Daigle had seven kills and two blocks. Sophomore Elise Gasperecz had 15 assists and four kills. Melanie Miller (10 digs), Kelly McDuff (11 assists, two aces) and Sydney Davis (six aces, three kills) also contributed.
“We have strong offense at the net, and that always helps,” Miller said. “We need to continue to work on limiting unforced errors.”
Gregoire led EHS with 12 blocks and added three kills. Grant had four kills, five blocks and three aces.
Russell had four kills, 11 assists and two blocks. Mitchell had eight digs and two blocks.
“Our ability to make blocks has had a huge impact on our season,” Melancon said. “We had to adjust and understand how to block a faster game. We’re not the tallest team, but we fight and play hard. We have speed and good vertical jumpers. Everyone stepped up. I’m proud of them.”
The two teams will battle again this weekend in SJA’s Redstick Classic. Mount Carmel, which defeated SJA in three sets last weekend and was the 2013 state runner-up, will also be in the field.