HAYS — The No. 1-ranked St. John High School volleyball team did it again.
Heading to the Class 1A Division-I state tournament at Gross Memorial Coliseum as defending state champions, the Lady Tigers won all five of their matches to repeat on Saturday.
This is the third state championship in the last four years for the Lady Tigers.
“I am very happy with the tradition that we’ve started here,” St. John head coach Trish Wade said. “It doesn’t seem like we every get tired of it. We always start each season hungry to win more.”
The Lady Tigers finish 43-2 as they eased through the tournament’s competition. The only match that went to three games was the championship match against Centralia, 25-21, 23-25, 25-12.
“In the first game, we started out pretty strong,” Trish Wade said. “We got a pretty good lead early and we kept it. In the second game, we started a bit slow. We got ourselves down seven, and we started to come back. We got to 24-23, but they got the game-point.
“The third game, we really had to dig in. We haven’t had to go to a third game much this season. If felt closer than it really was when you look at the book.”
Senior Teresa Wade led the way for the Lady Tigers.
“Teresa had a lot of kills for us,” Trish Wade said of her daughter. “She was a horse for us today. She did a nice job leading us. She led us in kills, and she dug the ball crazy well. Morgan Osborne also had a lot of digs for us, and Jamie Waters had some great setter-side digs.”
Teresa is one of two seniors on the team, along with Christa Milton.
Trish Wade said that is was a team effort, right down the final point.
“I’ll tell you what,” Trish Wade said. “On match point, (Centralia) moved around their back row, and we had a little freshman, Teresa Christie, who jumped up for a solo block to get the final point of the championship.”
St. John began the tournament’s pool play on Friday with a quick win over No. 8-seeded Waverly 25-21, 25-12.
The Lady Tigers then made short work of Cedar Vale, 25-11, 25-11, followed by a two-game sweep of Thunder Ridge, 25-6, 25-12.
St. John swept Spearville in the semifinal match, 25-16, 25-6.
The Lady Tigers got out to a good start against Centralia, winning the first game 25-21.
However, the Lady Panthers clawed back to tie the match at two games apiece with a 25-23 win.
St. John won 25-12 in the rubber game to secure the crown.
CLASS 1A DIVISION-I
Pool 1 — St. John def. Waverly, 25-21, 25-12; Thunder Ridge def. Cedar Vale, 29-27, 9-2, 26-24; St. John def. Cedar Vale, 25-11, 25-11; Waverly def. Thunder Ridge, 25-13, 25-13; Waverly def. Cedar Vale, 25-17, 25-17; St. John def. Thunder Ridge, 25-6, 25-12
Pool 2 — Spearville def. Pike Valley, 25-17, 25-22; Centralia def. Goessel, 25-22, 25-15; Spearville def. Goessel, 25-13, 19-25, 25-16; Centralia def. Pike Valley, 25-21, 25-12; Pike Valley def. Goessel, 27-25, 25-12; Centralia def. Spearville, 25-14, 25-19
Semifinals — St. John def. Spearville, 25-16, 25-6; Centralia def. Waverly, 25-23, 26-24
Third place — Waverly def. Spearville, 15-25, 25-20, 25-16
Championship — St. John def. Centralia, 25-21, 23-25, 25-12