How many milestones can you jam into a volleyball match?
Borgia’s 25-7, 25-15 victory over Owensville Tuesday in Union filled many of the potential checklist items.
• Gave Borgia (28-3-1) the Class 3 District 8 title, its 16th district crown in a row;
• Was Borgia’s 25th district championship in the last 27 seasons; and
• Was the 200th career victory for Borgia Head Coach Brad Bruns.
“It was a great night,” Bruns said. “The girls played real good ball. They did a lot of good things. It was a tough night for competition. The score doesn’t do it justice, but we just had things in our favor and stayed on a roll.”
Bruns knows the job isn’t done yet.
“Tomorrow we forget about district, we forget about 200 wins and we just focus on Saturday at the sectional,” Bruns said. “That’s our primary focus now.”
With the win, Borgia will host the MSHSAA Class 3 sectional event Saturday starting at 1 p.m. St. Dominic will play Duchesne in the first match. Borgia will play Villa Duchesne in the second semifinal. The state quarterfinal match will follow.
“This is a tough sectional,” Bruns said. “The last two years, our sectional winner has won the state championship. It’s going to be a tough sectional. I think you’re going to see some amazing matches.”
Borgia already has one win against Villa Duchesne this season (in three games at Villa Duchesne Sept. 19, 25-21, 21-25, 25-17), but Bruns knows beating the Saints a second time will be difficult.
Villa Duchesne won the 2011 Class 3 state title under Shane Weber, who once was an assistant coach at Washington High School.
There are other connections. Borgia sophomore rightside hitter Emma Kriete played club ball for Weber with Rockwood Thunder. Villa Duchesne junior outside hitter Hannah Cherry played for Show Me Volleyball Academy where Bruns was an assistant coach until hired by Borgia in 2012.
Bruns indicated the championship match was a team effort.
“We got the whole team in tonight, which was great,” Bruns said. “At any given time, we’re going to need all 14 to contribute, whether it be in the game or on the bench. The girls fought hard and played hard. It definitely was a full team win and we’re excited about that.”
Owensville Head Coach Kari Nolting said the team has been looking forward to playing Borgia.
“This is a match we prepared for all year, knowing it would come down to Owensville versus Borgia,” Nolting said. “They are a strong solid team and always have been. It is always tough for us when we play them but we also enjoy playing them. It is good for us to be pushed like that and we need more of it in our schedule.”
The Lady Knights pretty much did what they wanted in the two games. All 14 players contributed to the win.
The team hit .378 for the match with 22 kills and five errors in 45 attempts.
Freshman Audrey Arand led the team in kills with nine. She hit .429 for the match and added five digs.
Kriete smacked down six kills with no errors on nine attempts. She also had two assists.
Five other players recorded kills.
Junior Jordan Kriete had two kills and added six digs.
Senior Sarah Geatley posted two kills.
Senior Janie Arand recorded one kill, the first game winner, while adding 15 assists and nine digs.
Sophomore Elizabeth Mattli had one kill and a dig. Sophomore Liz Frederick posted one kill.
Junior Maddie Toelke had two assists and the team’s lone block.
Junior Alivia Brinker had two assists and tied Janie Arand with nine digs. She also had two aces.
Brinker was at the service line when Borgia had its most successful rotation. In the first set, she served 11 points in a row as Borgia moved from a 6-3 lead to a 17-3 advantage. In the second game, she served nine points in a row as Borgia moved from 4-2 to 13-2.
“Alivia did a great job serving tonight,” Bruns said. “It was one of her better nights. She just seemed to hit all of her targets. Whatever Coach (Martina) Roth threw at her, she hit it perfectly. We kept the other team on the move quite a bit. We took them out of system and they weren’t able to run a lot of the faster stuff they’re used to running. When we can force teams out of system, we’re going to win games.”
Senior Clara Blatt served two aces.
Junior Molly Arand had two digs while junior Allie Marquart had one dig.
Despite losing, Owensville had several standouts, including sophomore middle hitter Hailey Diestelkamp and junior Breanna Baker. Much of the offense was cycled through those two players.
“Hailey is an incredible player,” Bruns said. “We were able to take her out of system where they couldn’t run the quick. If you take Hailey out of the front row, that’s going to knock them down a level.”
Owensville loses seven players to graduation and Nolting found ways to get all seven into the action.
“I’m proud of my girls and the season we’ve had. I had a great team for my first season as head coach — lots of laughs and many good times. I only hope to build on what we’ve done this year and continue to take our level of play up in the future years.”
The win was the 200th in Bruns’ career and came against one of his former players.
“I didn’t know they knew it,” Bruns said. “They surprised me with that tonight. It’s neat to celebrate that, especially with this group. This is a pretty amazing group this year. To be able to celebrate this with them is a nice thing.”
Bruns won 118 matches at East Central College (118-57), while leading that program to three NJCAA Division II national tournaments in four seasons after resurrecting the team. The Falcons won the 2010 MCCAC title as well.
In 2005 and 2006, Bruns was the head coach of the Fontbonne University women, leading the team to the SLIAC championship and the NCAA Division III national tournament while posting 36 wins in two seasons.
In two seasons at Borgia, Bruns has recorded a 46-16-4 record (.697 winning percentage).
Tuesday’s win came against Kari (Blankenship) Nolting, who played for Bruns at East Central College in 2007-08, earning Academic All-American honors while playing middle hitter. She helped ECC reach the NJCAA Division II national tournament in 2008 and then played at NCAA Division II Maryville University after leaving ECC.
“Going up against Brad was bittersweet for me,” Nolting said. “He is a fantastic coach and I have learned so much from him over the years, and I continue to learn from him still. I do want to congratulate him on his 200th win — I’m glad to be part of that for him.”
Nolting, an Owensville graduate, has remained close friends with Bruns. This season, she was promoted to head coach of the Dutchgirls after Dwayne Clingman moved over to the football coaching staff.
“Kari Jo was an amazing athlete and player,” Bruns said. “To see her mature into a coach has been a pretty special thing. I think she’s done a great job at Owensville. I think she’s going to take that program to new heights. I’m excited for her. This is her first year as a head coach. She’s going to get there and I have no doubt she’s going to be successful.”