Battleline: Volleyball in the Dome - The Missourian: Sports

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Battleline: Volleyball in the Dome

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Posted: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 10:00 am | Updated: 12:57 pm, Wed Feb 19, 2014.

Echoing the sentiment of my fellow columnist, Craig Vonder Haar, it is of utmost importance that the St. Louis Rams and St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission work out their differences to keep the Rams in St. Louis.

The two sides seem to be embroiled in a high-stakes game of chicken over the team’s future in the Gateway City.

Anyone with a blog has speculated about the team’s future home, whether it be here or back in Los Angeles. There are many left coasters openly calling for the team to move back to its “home.”

I’m sorry, Los Angeles. Like Snake Plisskin, the Rams escaped from your burg. They’re in St. Louis now and you can have them back when you pry them from our cold, dead hands.

(I’m very familiar that the first “Escape From” movie was shot just blocks from the dome.)

Yes, the Edward Jones Dome needs to be upgraded to stay within the team’s parameters. But the type of public money the team wants just isn’t there.

Having spent much of the weekend in the area of the dome, there is a lot of turnover among businesses in that area.

The old St. Louis Centre shopping mall is getting some new life and a bunch of new businesses have moved into the dome area.

But that’s not going to generate the millions the team wants. It’s going to be extremely hard for the city, region and state to justify spending all of their money on the dome when there’s plenty of other things which need to be fixed.

I believe Stan Kroenke, the Rams owner, is a fair and just man and will play ball with St. Louis as long as a reasonable effort is made from the city’s part. I believe there is room for compromise between the two parties to take place. Even though there’s more loyalty to the Cardinals and Blues, I believe there are a lot of people who love the Rams and want to keep the team here. The Rams have gone to two Super Bowls since they’ve been here and have won one. The Greatest Show on Turf days were special and we’ve seen some outstanding players wearing Rams colors throughout the years.

The dome, and its adjoining convention center, serve many other purposes as well. This past weekend, it hosted the Presidents’ Day/Dennis Lafata Classic volleyball event.

The entire convention center and much of the floor of the dome played host to volleyball teams. (It was mainly boys volleyball in the dome section.) The three-day event pulled in some of the top teams throughout the midwest and midsouth regions.

One of our local players, Borgia freshman Audrey Arand, raised a championship during the event. Her CYC 15-1 team captured the championship in the 15 Open Division, dominating most of the other teams it faced.

CYC didn’t even drop a set until it reached the final, winning over Indiana’s Circle City 15 Purple in Monday’s title contest, 27-25, 23-25, 15-11.

Chris Reid already had a strong team. Anyone who watched last fall’s MSHSAA Class 2 state championships will remember Festus St. Pius’ best player as being freshman Jena Otec. She’s on that team with Arand. Both were on the PrepVolleyball.com Frosh 59 list.

Last year’s USA Volleyball 14 Open semifinalist added 6-2 middle blocker Elizabeth Orf from Villa Duchesne to an already-potent lineup and this team is ready to do some damage when the qualifier season starts.

Circle City is no slouch either. That team had multiple PrepVolleyball.com Frosh 59 award winners with outside Griere Hughes and rightside Courtney VanLiew from that list. Coach Chris Due also pointed out outside Avery Brown and libero Rylee Cookerly as honorable mention selections.

In the 16s, a lot of buzz was given to Invasion 16 Black from of Kansas City. That squad features Jenna Gray and Audriana Fitzmorris, two standout players who helped ASICS MAVS capture last year’s 16 Open national title and were key cogs in the St. James Academy (Kan.) volleyball machine which won the mythical national title. St. James Academy beat Lafayette this year, so that shows how good that team was.

Those two played up last season and are big reasons a lot of people feel Invasion has a strong chance at winning the national title this year.

However, it’s still a work in progress. While Invasion was impressive, it had to settle for fifth after losing to High Performance 16 Gold in the Gold Bracket Monday.

I think the best match I saw all weekend was between Invasion and KIVA (Kentucky-Indiana Volleyball Academy). Invasion won a very close first game, but KIVA came back to capture the second game. In the third game, Invasion led most of the way, but KIVA started to rally until Invasion’s Elizabeth Sandbothe finished it off. When that team finally comes together, it’s going to be a force.

Taking home the 16 Open title was Union 16 ASICS Ken from Kentucky, coached by Ken Garvey. When I saw that team play during the weekend, the one thing that impressed me was that everyone attacked the ball. I don’t believe they gave their opponent a free ball while I was watching. Everyone got up to swing whether they played front row, back row, libero or setter. I believe the confidence they carried into the tournament pulled them through.

The runner-up in the 16 Open Division came from Circle City, which always fields some very powerful squads.

I saw Circle City play two Rockwood Thunder squads, including the 16 Navy team of Washington High School’s Amanda Vollmer. Rockwood’s second squad slugged it out with Circle City in a close match. On Sunday, Circle City handed Rockwood Thunder 16 Mizuno, coached by Gretchen Moser (and with Borgia’s Emma Kriete) its first loss in the event.

Kriete didn’t play due to injury, but that Rockwood Thunder squad should be one of the teams to watch down the road.

Another impressive Gateway Region team in the 16s division was SWI Crush 16 Black.

Other locals playing at the tournament included Borgia’s Alivia Brinker and Jordan Kriete with Momentum 17 Navy. I’m sure there were others playing, but with that many courts and teams, it’s hard to keep up.

I ran into a lot of folks with area ties there. Borgia Assistant Coach Andy Halaz was helping to lead a High Performance 13 girls team. Former Washington assistant Shane Weber is the head coach of Rockwood Thunder 15 Mizuno, a team which was seeded pretty high, but has some key injuries right now. Former ECC Assistant Coach Ben O’Day is the head coach for the High Performance 17 Gold squad.

It seemed to be a well-run event and another positive for the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission. This year’s field was stronger and the event should get better next year.

Who knows, maybe St. Louis will have the Presidents’ Day event which draws in the big teams in the near future, even better than Chicago or Omaha.

And, by hosting events like that, St. Louis can continue to build a strong reputation in the sports world. Keeping the Rams would solidify that even more.

/

Area Scoreboard

62nd Annual Borgia Pepsi Thanksgiving Tournament

Blue Division

Pool 1

McCluer North

Normandy

Carnahan

Pool 2

Cardinal Ritter

Pacific

Rockwood Summit

Gold Division

Pool 1

CBC

Soldan

Washington

Pool 2

Borgia

North Tech

Union

Monday, Nov. 24

CBC 77, Washington 52

Tuesday, Nov. 25

Cardinal Ritter vs. Rockwood Summit, PPD

Washington 63, Soldan 62

Borgia 83, Union 50

Wednesday, Nov. 26

Carnahan 71, Normandy 46

Pacific 64, Rockwood Summit 22

North Tech 67, Union 37

Thursday, Nov. 27

McCluer North 95 Carnahan 68

CBC 82, Soldan 55

Borgia 50, North Tech 45

Friday, Nov. 28

McCluer North 93, Normandy 39

Pacific 70, Cardinal Ritter 57

Saturday, Nov. 29

Blue Consolation — Rockwood Summit 47, Normandy 38

Gold Consolation — Soldan 78, Union 59

Gold Third Place — North Tech 63, Washington 57

Blue Third Place — Cardinal Ritter 71, Carnahan 46

Blue Championship — McCluer North 64, Pacific 58 (OT)

Gold Championship — CBC 67, Borgia 66

Boys Basketball

Monday, Dec. 8

Lutheran S 64, St. Clair 48

Borgia 61, Carnahan 51

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Lafayette 44, Washington 35

Friday, Dec. 12

Potosi 72, St. Clair 45

*Washington 69, Ft. Zumwalt North 65

Montgomery Co 62, New Haven 61

*St. Mary’s at Borgia    6:45 p.m.

Bourbon 75, Union 74

Glendale 63, Pacific 46

Saturday, Dec. 13

New Haven 46, Barat 40

Nixa 56, Pacific 46

Tuesday, Dec. 16

*Pacific 70, New Haven 35

*Hermann 67, St. Clair 49

*Ft. Zumwalt South 61, Washington 50

*Union 81, St. James 74

Friday, Dec. 19

*Owensville at St. Clair    4 p.m.

Washington vs. Parkway Central, GAC/Suburban Shootout, St. Charles Family Arena, 5:30 p.m.

*St. James at New Haven    6 p.m.

*Pacific 76, Union 57

Saturday, Dec. 20

Sullivan Shootout

Owensville vs. Rockwood Summit, 11:30 a.m.

Lindbergh 67, St. Clair 46

Jefferson City vs. Jackson, 2:30 p.m.

Washington 56, Lutheran South 54

Poplar Bluff 59, Borgia 49

Sullivan vs. Affton, 7 p.m.

Girls Basketball

Saturday, Dec. 6

Cor Jesu 63, Borgia 60

New Haven 46, Moberly 39

Monday, Dec. 8

Pacific 73, Rolla 40

St. Clair 68, Dixon 37

Washington 54, New Haven 15

Tuesday, Dec. 9

*Borgia 59, Rosati-Kain 38

Union 53, Northwest 44

Thursday, Dec. 11

*Borgia 60, Notre Dame 53

Union 81, Bourbon 53

Friday, Dec. 12

New Haven 45, Principia 30

*Washington 59, Ft. Zumwalt North 32

Saturday, Dec. 13

West Plains 76, Pacific 37

Monday, Dec. 15

*Pacific 46, New Haven 28

*St. Clair 59, Hermann 50

*St. James 64, Union 37

Sullivan Tournament

Cuba 48, Principia 27

Borgia 68, Patriettes 29

Sullivan 56, Pattonville 43

Owensville 78, Farmington 54

Wednesday, Dec. 17

Sullivan Tournament

Farmington 61, Pattonville 39

Sullivan 68, Owensville 64

Principia 55, St. Louis Patriettes 42

Borgia 56, Cuba 38

Thursday, Dec. 18

*St. James 72, New Haven 21

*Union 49, Pacific 48

Friday, Dec. 19

Francis Howell 55, Washington 48

Sullivan Tournament

Seventh Place — Pattonville vs. St. Louis Patriettes, 4 p.m.

Consolation — Farmington vs. Principia, 5:30 p.m.

Third Place — Owensville vs. Cuba, 7 p.m.

Championship — Borgia 62, Sullivan 35

Saturday, Dec. 20

Union at Waynesville    5 p.m.

Wrestling

Monday, Dec. 8

Maplewood 48, Borgia 30

Brentwood 47, Borgia 36

Winfield 48, St. Clair 36

St. Clair 42, St. James 40

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Pacific 55, North County 10

Jackson 63, Washington 12

Farmington 63, Washington 6

Wednesday, Dec. 10

Borgia 36, Lutheran St. Charles 34

Winfield 54, Borgia 30

Thursday, Dec. 11

Union 72, Ft. Zumwalt East 9

Union 52, Principia 30

Union 54, Winfield 27

Saturday, Dec. 13

Union Tournament    9 a.m.

Borgia at McCluer S-Berkeley Tny    9 a.m.

Pacific at Farmington Tny    9 a.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 16

Owensville 61, St. Clair 16

Union 48, Owensville 27

Union 65, St. Clair 18

Friday, Dec. 19

Washington at Raytown S Tny    TBA

Union at Cape Central Tny    TBA

Pacific at Ft. Zumwalt E Tny    TBA

Saturday, Dec. 20

Washington at Raytown S Tny    TBA

Union at Cape Central Tny    TBA

Pacific at Ft. Zumwalt E Tny    TBA

Girls Swimming

Monday, Dec. 8

Washington at Eureka    4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Washington at Nerinx Hall    4 p.m.

LSC/OFC 134, Borgia 101, St. Dominic 83

Monday, Dec. 15

Borgia at Notre Dame (Forest Park)    4 p.m.

Kennedy 88, Washington 84

Wednesday, Dec. 17

Lindbergh 128, Washington 48

*Conference Games

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