St. James volleyball victorious at Blue Springs South Invitational
Despite a slew of early, unforced errors, the St. James Academy volleyball team pulled together to overwhelm the competition, winning all six of its matches in taking the Blue Springs (Mo.) South Invitational title Saturday.
The Thunder (22-0) went 12-2 in games played and rode the front row play of seniors Annie Reilly (53 kills) Kayla Guyot (27 kills), Dallas Gardner (17 kills) and Katie Dulek (14 kills) to victory. Sophomore Arianna Person led all hitters with 65 kills.
The wins came despite 17 hitting errors in one game against Ozark (Mo.) High School. Ozark and Blue Springs (Mo.) High School were the only teams to win games against the Thunder — but neither managed to steal a match.
“I think I would say we had some ups and downs,” St. James coach Nancy Dorsey said. “We were making errors we don’t usually make. But I have confidence in my girls and they certainly came through. The girls decided that this was not OK and said, ‘We’re not letting this happen again.
“The previous weekend we won a tournament in St. Louis and played awesome. We hadn’t played again until this past Saturday, so maybe the fact that we hadn’t played in a week made us a little rusty.”
The rust certainly shook off the Thunder as they claimed wins in their final six games in a row. After losing 21-25 to Blue Springs, St. James rebounded with consecutive 25-12 and 25-13 wins to close out the match. They topped that by sweeping Blue Springs South, 25-19 and 25-15, and then dispatching St. Teresa’s 25-14 and 25-20.
In addition to her kills, Guyot added seven solo blocks and 19 block assists while Dulek recorded six solo blocks, nine block assists and 10 digs. Gardner piled up the stats with four aces, 11 assists, and one block to go with her kills, and Reilly proved equally impressive with 51 digs, seven aces and four block assists. Meanwhile, Person added 42 digs, six solo blocks, six block assists and five aces to go with her eye-popping kills total.
Senior libero Sheridan Zarda collected 67 digs, but one of the most impressive stat lines came from senior setter Paige Brown, who recorded 151 assists to go with 43 digs, 11 kills, seven block assists and six aces.
The Thunder have a challenging week ahead with matches against St. Theresa’s — one of the top Missouri squads — and Class 6A power Washburn Rural. They follow that up with a Saturday date at the Joan Wells Invitational at Lawrence High.
Dorsey is hoping her team can shake off any remaining rust and be ready for a challenging week.
“This is going to be one of our toughest weeks so far,” Dorsey said. “Everyone we’re playing is good. Both Washburn Rural and St. Teresa’s are well coached, and the Lawrence tournament may push us up against Bishop Miege for the third time this season. We definitely want to eliminate any unforced errors this week.”