St. James volleyball team takes down No. 1 Blue Valley North, goes 2-0 in triangular meet
Overland Park The St. James Academy volleyball team traveled to Blue Valley North High School Tuesday to compete in a triangular meet against Blue Valley North and Blue Valley Southwest. St. James (24-4) went 2-0 in the meet, as it defeated Blue Valley North in three sets, and took down Blue Valley Southwest in two sets.
"I'm really proud of them. We started off so slow. That was a little scary against two great opponents. I was very proud how they bounced back. I knew they could. We got two really great wins (Tuesday), so I'm really proud of them," St. James head coach Nancy Dorsey said.
Blue Valley North entered Tuesday night ranked as the No. 1 team in Class 6A by the Kansas Volleyball Association. It also carried a 23-1 record.
Blue Valley North built an early 3-10 lead in the first set. St. James narrowed the deficit to a 7-11 margin, but Blue Valley North pulled ahead to a 10-20 lead. St. James went on a 6-1 run to make it a 16-21 set, but Blue Valley North continued to pull ahead. St. James lost the first set by a score of 19-25.
St. James got off to a hot start in the second set. It led by a score of 6-2 before Blue Valley North narrowed the gap to an 8-5 margin. St. James went on a 7-4 run to take a 15-9 lead. It built its lead to an 18-11 margin. St. James kept Blue Valley North from cutting into its lead, as it won the second set by a score of 25-15.
Dorsey talked about the message she gave her team before the second set.
"We talked about fight. We know what we can do when we're on. Our passing game is strong and our serving game is strong. We're like most high school teams — there are a lot of ups and downs. That's frustrating. We just talked about how we know what we can do. We just had to believe in ourselves and go do it. I was proud of how they responded," Dorsey said.
Blue Valley North took an early 0-2 lead in the third set. St. James tied the set at 4-4 before the two teams began to trade points. The score was tied five more times before St. James began to pull away. It built a 17-10 lead. Like in the second set, St. James prevented Blue Valley North from mounting a comeback. It won the set by a score of 25-15, and gave Blue Valley North its second loss this season.
Dorsey talked about the third set.
"That was 100 percent our pass and serve game. When we passed, every ball was right where it needed to be. We served the right zones against them and (Blue Valley North) was out of system. When you get a team that has that many good hitters out of system, they can't swing at full force. Our defense is really strong. We were able to win those long rallies because we were serving so well," Dorsey said.
Dorsey talked about how her team secured a key win over Blue Valley North.
"Blue Valley North is super physical. They're strong. They have hitters coming out of their ears. We knew what we were up against. We talked a lot about our pass and serve game. We've got to serve aggressively and we've got to serve the right zones," Dorsey said. "Our pass and serve game was great, aside from the first set. In the second and third set, we served exactly where we needed to. We passed perfectly so we could run our offense and be effective against a great team."
St. James then faced Blue Valley Southwest. It started off very slow in the first set, as it trailed by a score of 7-13 before it began fighting back. St. James went on a 5-0 run to cut the score to a 12-13 margin. Blue Valley Southwest kept St. James at bay, as it built a 15-21 lead. St. James continued to fight back, as it went on a 7-0 run to take a 22-21 lead over Blue Valley Southwest.
Both teams went back and forth. With the set tied at 25-25, St. James scored two unanswered points to win the first set by a score of 27-25.
"We talk about doing the little things a lot. Everybody did their part. We had some errors early. We eliminated those, which is big. We always talk about letting (opponents) make their mistakes. We did a really good job of that," Dorsey said.
The second set started out close. The score was tied at 4-4 when St. James went on a 4-0 run to take an 8-4 lead. It expanded its lead to a 14-9 margin before Blue Valley Southwest went on a 5-5 run to narrow the deficit to a 19-14 margin. St. James closed out the set and the match with a 6-1 run to take a 25-15 victory.
Dorsey talked about some girls that stood out to her Tuesday.
"(Senior) Morgan Miller played well. She's a competitor. She does everything well. She serves well. She's a good setter. She had some great digs. She makes good decisions. She did a great job. Our foursome of defenders — (junior) Ellie Bolton, (senior) Addison Weybrew, (senior) Jackie Storm, and (junior) Maureen Reilly — were so solid from the backcourt. We were hard to stop," Dorsey said.
St. James will be back in action Wednesday night, when it will host St. Teresa's Academy. It will wrap up its regular season Oct. 16, when it will go on the road to face Olathe East High School.