For the second year in a row, the top hardware is staying home.
St. Francis Borgia Regional won its own eight-team volleyball tournament Saturday, defeating St. Dominic in the title match, 25-23, 25-22.
“We had a really good day today,” Borgia Head Coach CJ Steiger said. “It wasn’t perfect. We struggled at times, but we fought through it all and had a really good day.
While Borgia (7-0) did not drop a set all day, it didn’t exactly have an easy path to the title, either.
“We got everybody’s best shot all day,” Steiger said. “That was good. There was good competition all around. Nobody gets better from playing poor competition. We encouraged it. It was a great tournament with great competition.”
It was a relief for senior Abby Lynn.
“It feels amazing,” Lynn said. “It’s been a long day for sure. St. Dominic is a really good team and it came down to fighting as hard as we could. All of us were in it to win it and none of us ever gave up. Our energy was unstoppable.”
As the defending champion, Borgia seemed to get the best effort from each opponent.
“Everyone wants to beat Borgia,” Lynn said. “We proved them wrong. It took a total team effort to beat any team today. This tournament has gotten a lot tougher because a lot of new teams have come in and join for the competition because they love playing us and the other good teams in this tournament.”
The Lady Knights opened the day with a 25-13, 25-19 win over Westminster Christian Academy.
“We didn’t start great, but the girls picked up and steadily got better as the day went along,” Steiger said. “That’s really what you look for and you want to play well at the end.”
After a break, Borgia then beat Francis Howell Central, 25-18, 25-20.
And the Lady Knights closed out pool play with a 25-18, 25-16 win over Kirkwood.
At that point, the field was set for the playoffs. Borgia and Westminster Christian (3-3) advanced from the Blue Pool while St. Dominic (6-0) and Washington (3-3) moved on from the Gold Pool.
Parkway West and Francis Howell Central, who won two sets apiece in pool play, faced off for fifth place while Lutheran South played Kirkwood for seventh.
It never matters what the circumstances are when Borgia faces Washington and the semifinal match was typical of the tight play between the two neighbors. Borgia won the first game, 25-19, but had a much tougher time in the second contest. Washington fought and Borgia was able to pull out with a 25-22 win.
“That’s always a fun rivalry game,” Steiger said. “There’s mutual respect between both schools. Both are really good teams and obviously both want the bragging rights, so it’s a really fun game. Give a lot of good credit to Washington. Nothing came easy.”
On the other court, St. Dominic swept Westminster Christian, 25-21, 25-11, to set up a championship rematch. Borgia prevailed this time, winning in two games, 25-23, 25-22.
“Our kids really grew up a lot today,” Steiger said. “There were a lot of good things to take from today. The championship was a battle of runs between two really good teams. We were fortunate to come out on top.”
Ella Brinkmann was the kills leader with 11. Caroline Glastetter and Lily Brown added five kills apiece. Abby Lynn and Lynsey Batson each posted three kills. Anna Eckelkamp added one.
In the digs department, Annie Arand paced the team with nine. Brown was next with six while Eckelkamp and Brinkmann each had five. Lynn had four digs while Gabby Mattli added three.
Lynn recorded 24 assists while Brinkmann had two and Arand and Mattli added one apiece.
Batson had four total blocks. Lynn checked in with two while Glastetter, Brinkmann, Kaitlyn Patke and Brown each had one.
Eckelkamp served two aces and Alliyah Thanawalla added one.
Against the Lady Jays, Brinkmann recorded 11 kills. Brown was next with five. Lynn had four, Glastetter posted three and Patke and Batson had two kills apiece. Eckelkamp and Mattli each had one kill.
Arand led the defense with 10 digs. Mattli had eight while Lynn posted four. Brinkmann added three, Brown had two and Alicia Baylard and Glastetter had one dig each.
Patke had three total blocks. Glastetter ended with two. Lynn, Brown and Batson had one apiece.
Eckelkamp served the team’s lone ace.
In the day’s first match, Brinkmann had seven kills while Brown was next with five. Lynn recorded four, Eckelkamp and Batson each had three and Thanawalla, Glastetter and Patke each had one kill.
Arand made 11 digs. Brinkmann had six, Lynn ended with five, Brown and Mattli each recorded four, Eckelkamp had two and Glastetter posted one.
Lynn dished out 18 assists. Brinkmann added two and Arand and Mattli chipped in with one each.
Batson made four total blocks. Brown was next with three, Lynn had two and Patke added one.
Lynn, Mattli and Brown served one ace apiece.
Francis Howell Central
Against the Lady Spartans, Brinkmann smacked down nine kills. Lynn and Batson each had five. Brown ended with three and Patke added two.
Mattli posted 15 digs and Arand was next with 12. Glastetter had three digs. Eckelkamp, Brinkmann and Brown added two digs apiece. Lynn and Baylard had one.
Lynn recorded 19 assists and Mattli was next with four.
Lynn, Brinkmann, Patke and Batson each had one block.
Lynn served three aces. Brinkmann was next with two and Eckelkamp posted one.
In the final pool match, Glastetter was the kills leader with six. Brinkmann and Lynn each had five. Brown posted three while Patke had two. Eckelkamp recorded one kill.
Arand was the digs leader with 11. Mattli was next with six. Lynn had four, Brinkmann and Eckelkamp each closed with three and Glastetter added two.
Lynn had three total blocks. Patke was next with two. Brinkmann, Brown and Batson each had one block.
Eckelkamp served two aces and Lynn and Arand each ended with one.