Give the advantage in the Archdiocesan Athletic Association Large Division volleyball race to the St. Francis Borgia Regional Lady Knights.

For now.

Borgia (8-1-1, 1-0) opened conference play with a 25-21, 25-23 win over its closest rival St. Dominic Thursday at Borgia.

“I’m really proud of the girls tonight because I feel this was the first night from start to finish that we played pretty consistent. There were times where we had bouts, but we didn’t have a lag at the start.”

The match marked the sixth one so far this season against teams which reached the state tournament last fall. Borgia also beat St. Dominic for the Borgia Tournament championship Aug. 18.

“St. Dominic always has a great team,” Beaty said. “They went to state last year (fourth in Class 4) and they have pretty much the same team back this year. We knew this was going to be tough. I’m proud of my team. They went from celebrating the win over Lafayette yesterday to refocusing on this game.”

Borgia continues its brutal early-season run Monday when defending Class 3 state champion Helias visits. Helias handed Borgia its only loss so far Aug. 28 in Jefferson City.

In Thursday’s win, Sophie Straatmann led the team in kills with seven. Ella Brinkmann and Lynnae Grus each had six while Grace Struttmann posted five, Diana Pfeiffer ended with four and Abby Lynn posted one kill.

“It does help having Grace Struttmann back in,” Beaty said. “It really helps the flow of the court and the girls are becoming more confident in each other. I thought they’re really starting to find their way on the court.”

Paige Lynn led the defense with 20 digs.

“I think Paige Lynn did an outstanding job tonight,” Beaty said. “Even if it was just one hand on the ball, she was picking it up tonight. She made it her duty that if it was in her range, she was going to pick it up. Defense like that leads to better play.”

Abby Lynn and Annie Arand each had 12 digs while Kara Voss was next with nine. Gabby Mattli posted six digs. Brinkmann had three while Pfeiffer, Struttmann and Grus each had two and Straatmann added one.

Abby Lynn dished out 24 assists. Paige Lynn posted two while Arand and Mattli each had one.

Straatmann had two blocks while Pfeiffer, Brinkmann and Struttmann had one block apiece.

Arand and Brinkmann each served an ace.

In the first game, Borgia briefly broke away with a four-point run as Arand served, going up 15-11.

St. Dominic came back and cut it to one point several times before Borgia closed it out, 25-21, when Brinkmann found the back line with a kill.

Borgia broke out with the lead in the second game, but St. Dominic controlled most of the set. The Lady Crusaders went to standout Allie Otten, who was able to find openings in the Borgia defense.

“Allie is an outstanding player and she’s going to get her points,” Beaty said.

Trailing 21-18, Borgia fought back, point by point. Kills from Pfeiffer and Struttmann were sandwiched around an ace by Brinkmann and it was 21-21.

With the game tied 23-23, Straatmann got a kill off the St. Dominic block. Arand then sent a serve into the top of the net. It struck the tape and rolled over to the St. Dominic side, dropping for an ace. A St. Dominic error then finished the match.