It was another 3-0 volleyball victory for St. Joseph’s Academy in a road match Wednesday at University High.
It was one of the final matches before the volleyball playoffs begin and both teams left with positive vibes. SJA (36-2) again displayed power at the net and strong outside hitting in taking a 25-19, 25-19 and 25-16 victory.
University (29-11) made the sets competitive, led by the play of versatile seniors Lindsay Flory and Marygrace Constantin.
SJA is the defending Division I state champion and is currently atop the power rankings. University has advanced to three straight semifinals and is fourth in the Division IV power ratings. Both teams will earn bidistrict byes and host to regional playoff matches Nov. 10.
“I’m happy with some of the things we did today,” SJA coach Sivi Miller said. “We did a much better job on the defensive end with our blocking. They know we have a lot of little things we’re working on so that we can end with a high this season.”
“We played hard and kept the games close and competitive,” University coach Bonita Johnson said.
“We made some adjustments in our hitting to get around St. Joseph’s strong blocking. Our back row was also disciplined.
“I think the opportunity is there for us to win state. They have what it takes to go all the way. If they put it together and play hard, anything can happen.”
University led 10-8 in the second set following a Constantin kill.
The set was tied at 15. SJA pulled ahead 20-17 after a nice crossing shot from outside hitter Katherine Young. The Redstickers finished strong with Melanie Miller serving and senior middle blocker Madison Daigle at the net.
“We’ve progressed a lot as a team,” Young said. “We have to work on our consistency. I rely on the help of my teammates. They tell me where to hit, and we found some open spots today.”
SJA led 8-7 in the third set before going on a 9-3 run. Daigle scored three points, and Young two in that surge.
Daigle led St. Joseph’s with 16 kills and nine blocks. Hanna Rovira (nine kills, three blocks), Young (eight kills) and Sydney Davis (six kills, three aces) also showed power. Sophomore Elise Gasperecz kept the offense moving with 17 assists.
Flory had 10 kills, 10 assists and eight digs for the Cubs. The 6-foot-3 Constantin added nine kills and Carolyn Coulter had six kills.
“We’re ready to execute and get to the finals,” said the 6-foot-3 Constantin, who was also a starter on the Cubs’ 2014 Class 3A girls state championship basketball team. “I think we’ve gotten a lot better since the beginning of the season. We’re communicating better with our setters. Our back row is playing great.
“Me as a senior I’m ready to get the second ring. That’s the dream.”