Don’t ever count out Hermann.
That’s the lesson Lutheran St. Charles and Barat Academy learned Saturday afternoon and evening in the Class 2 Sectional Volleyball Tournament hosted by Hermann.
The Lady Bearcats (23-13) earned the right to advance to the MSHSAA Class 2 Championships in Cape Girardeau Friday and Saturday by defeating both teams.
Hermann opened the day with a 25-11, 25-17 win over Barat Academy and then knocked out Lutheran St. Charles in the quarterfinals, 25-21, 25-21.
It’s the 21st time Hermann is going to the state tournament and the Lady Bearcats are in search of their 12th state title.
“We feel really fortunate to have this opportunity to return to the final four,” said Hermann Head Coach Linda Lampkin.
Hermann will compete in pool play Friday at the Show-Me Center at Southeast Missouri State in Cape Girardeau.
Matches are against:
• Fair Grove (28-6) at 9 a.m.;
• Summit Christian (21-8-4) at 11 a.m.; and
• St. Pius of Festus (27-7-2) at 1 p.m.
The top two teams advance to the championship Saturday at 3 p.m. The other two teams play for third place Saturday at 9 a.m.
Many observers figured the winner of the Fatima-Lutheran match had a good chance to not only win the sectional title, but also win the state title.
However, nobody told Hermann.
“They have a very good team,” Lampkin said about Lutheran. “Fatima has a great team.”
The Lady Bearcats, at 22-13, have taken more than their share of losses this season while playing a brutal schedule.
“I do believe that our schedule prepares us for postseason play each year,” Lampkin said. “You just can’t reproduce that kind of competition at practice. Our schedule was especially tough this year.”
Not only did Hermann play every big school it could find, but it also took on some national powers such as Wheaton St. Francis and Breese Central in Effingham, Ill.
Lampkin indicated being at home was another big help.
“I think that being on our home court with our student fans helped us on Saturday as well,” Lampkin said.
In the Lutheran match, the Lady Bearcats got a balanced attack with Jamie Gleeson posting 12 kills and Kirsten Leimkuehler adding 11. Emilie Diebal ended with six kills and Hayley Stiers posted one kill.
Sydnee Pate served four aces while Stiers added one.
Diebal had the team’s lone block.
Kali Stiers recorded 29 assists and Tesla Ruediger added one.
“We were trying to serve deep against Lutheran because we knew if they were able to push the ball to the net, they would run their quick offense and that would be tough for us to handle,” Lampkin said. “We did a great job of keeping them back off the net.”
Lampkin said Hermann was looking forward to the quarterfinal.
“The girls were fired up and ready to go in the second match,” Lampkin said. “I think everyone played a great game and all of the players contributed. Jamie Gleeson and Kirsten Leimkueher teamed up for 23 kills. Sydnee Pate served very tough, serving four aces.”
Everyone contributed, Lampkin continued.
“Our outside attackers, Emilie Diebal and Hayley Stiers, were very effective against a big block,” Lampkin said. “And Kali Stiers, our setter, did a good job of spreading the ball around and getting it to our big attackers when she needed to. It was just a great overall team effort.”
In the second sectional contest, Lutheran edged Fatima in three games, 25-27, 25-23, 25-19.
“The Lutheran-Fatima game was a real barn burner,” Lampkin said. “It was a lot of fun to watch. Lutheran came back after losing the first set to win the next two.”
Hermann opened the event with a 25-11, 25-17 win over Barat Academy.
“We had an easier time with Barat Academy in our first match,” said Lampkin.