Borgia fell one win short of a trip to the MSHSAA Class 3 state volleyball championships.
Playing last Saturday at St. Dominic High School, the Lady Knights (18-13-3) took apart St. Dominic in a sectional match, 25-17, 25-13, but followed that with a loss to Westminster in the quarterfinals, 25-23, 25-20.
Borgia competed in the playoff contests after winning its 15th consecutive district championship last week.
“I give our girls a lot of credit for the season we had. With me coming in as the first-year coach, we changed some things around that they had to adjust to,” said Borgia Head Coach Brad Bruns. “We ran a quicker offense. We made some changes with our hitting and our defense. I’m not upset at all with the progress the girls made. Our record doesn’t reflect what we did this season. There were a lot more positives than negatives. We built a solid foundation.”
The four Class 3 semifinal teams are Westminster, Perryville, Pleasant Hill and St. Pius X (Kansas City).
After splitting its first two matches of the season against St. Dominic (23-10-2), Borgia left no doubt which team was superior.
“Our ball control was great. Our attacks were phenomenal. We did a good job defensively picking up their tips,” Bruns said. “It was one of the better matches we’ve played this season. We split with them during the season and were co-champs with them in the AAA. We took care of business. We weren’t about to lose to them again, even in their own gym.”
Janie Arand finished the match with 26 assists, three kills, three digs, three aces and one block.
Emma Kriete collected five kills, three digs and two aces.
Sarah Geatley added five kills and one block.
Taylor Mentz had four kills, one block, one dig and one assist.
Hanna Glastetter and Erin Hillerman both registered four kills and one block.
Alivia Brinker finished with six digs, one assist and one kill.
Clara Blatt added four digs. Maddie Toelke had one dig.
Molly Arand had three digs, one assist and one ace.
The early part of the first game was close.
The Lady Knights took off with a 12-9 lead, turning it into a 19-10 advantage with a 7-1 run.
Two aces by Janie Arand and kills by Kriete and Mentz pushed Borgia’s lead to 19-10.
The Lady Knights ended the first game on an attacking spree.
Kills by Glastetter, Geatley and Hillerman ended the opening game.
The second game wasn’t close.
Borgia jumped to leads of 4-0, 9-3, 13-4 and 17-5.
Blocks and kills by Glastetter and Geatley, additional kills by Kriete and Mentz and aces by Molly Arand and Emma Kriete highlighted the second and final game.
“Our confidence from game one carried over into game two,” Bruns said. “Our girls were relaxed and not worried about losing. They were focused on getting to 25 points.”
Borgia’s season came to an end with a Class 3 quarterfinal loss to Westminster (26-6-1).
“Westminster is a big, intimidating team. There’s a reason why they’ve lost only a few games. I think there’s a good chance they’ll go to state and win it,” Bruns said. “There were small details about our game that hurt us, such as serve receive. We also were a little timid with our attacks. The girls are upset about losing, but they know they can hold their heads high.”
Hillerman finished the match with six kills, two aces and one block.
Janie Arand had 20 assists, two digs and one kill.
Mentz connected for four kills.
Glastetter registered three kills and one block.
Geatley added three kills and one dig.
Emma Kriete finished with two kills and one ace.
Blatt recorded one kill and one ace.
Brinker collected four digs.
Molly Arand had two aces and one dig.
Jordan Kriete and Toelke both had one dig.
Borgia tied the first game 23-23 on an ace by Hillerman.
But Westminster scored the next two points, ending with an ace by Megan Tilley.
“We had an opportunity at 23-23 to push ahead, but made a couple of mistakes,” Bruns said.
Borgia opened a 5-2 lead in the second game, but the score was tied 10-10 and 15-15 before the Lady Wildcats took the lead for good, 16-15.
Westminster had leads of 18-15, 20-17 and 24-18 down the stretch before securing the victory on a kill by Erin Bognar.
“The second game was close midway through. They pulled ahead and we fought back to make it close,” Bruns said. “The last four or five points are the most crucial and the point where you want to be at your best. We weren’t able to put it together at the end.”
Borgia’s seniors were Kathleen Lindemann, Mentz and Glastetter.
“Our seniors did a great job leading the team. We’re going to miss them,” Bruns said. “We have a heavy amount of sophomores and juniors in our program. The sophomores are our largest class. We have great kids coming up. The future of Borgia volleyball looks very promising.”