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Lady Tigers seize runner-up trophy at state tourney
1A D-I State Volleyball
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St. John Senior Jamie Waters (6) elevates for an attack against Olpe while junior teammate Tia Smith (1) looks on during Thursdays action against Olpe. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

HAYS — Finding itself in a familiar situation, the perennial powerhouse St. John High School volleyball team was playing for a Class 1A Division-I state title.
The defending state champion Lady Tigers fell in three games against Olpe, 32-30, 20-25, 25-22.
“Olpe is a great team,” St. John head coach Trish Wade said. “They have some great players, and they’re very big. I was really proud of the girls. I thought they played hard. They hustled after balls and really dug in. I’m very impressed with their will to win. I’m pleased.”
In the first game, Olpe faced game point six times before taking the lead. St. John held off game point once, but the Lady Eagles came away with the win.
“We had a little crunch on some serves that hurt us a little bit,” Wade said. “They are powerful. They move well. It’s a fun game to watch, and I loved coaching it, too.”
St. John led throughout the second game, taking its final lead at 18-17 and winning to force Game 3.
The Lady Eagles took control of the final game at 17-16, and were able to stay ahead to claim the state title.
St. John beat Centralia in a semifinal match, winning 25-15, 20-25 and 25-11.
The Lady Tigers finished second in its pool, falling on Friday to Olpe 25-14, 25-11.
“I was pleased with how we played (in the title match),” Wade said. “It was much better than we did in pool play. I thought they went out a little slow to start in pool play.”
St. John responded by beating Dexter-Cedar Vale, 25-17, 25-16, and Pike Valley, 25-14, 25-19, to end pool play.
While Wade said it wasn’t the trophy they were looking for, the Lady Tigers will gladly add it to the collection, which includes three state titles, a third-place finish and now a runner-up trophy in the last five years.
“I have to give credit to all the girls,” Wade said. “They did a great job on the bench. Our fans were awesome. The only thing that would’ve been sweeter is if we got the championship, but we got second in state. I’ll take that.”
The Lady Tigers finish the season 35-8 overall.
It was the last match for seniors Morgan Osborne and Jamie Waters.
“They are impossible to replace, but we have some young setters and some young hitters who will be coming up,” Wade said. “We’ll just keep working and keep fighting to improve ourselves and get back here next year.”

Class 1A Division-I state tournament


At Hays
Gross Memorial Coliseum

Pool play

Pool 1
Pike Valley 2, Dexter-Cedar Vale 0
(25-18, 25-19)
Olpe 2, St. John 0
(25-14, 25-11)
St. John 2, Dexter-Cedar Vale 0
(25-17, 25-16)
Olpe 2, Pike Valley 0
(25-15, 25-22)
St. John 2, Pike Valley 0
(25-14, 25-11)
Olpe 2, Dexter-Cedar Vale 1
(25-18, 22-25, 25-16)

Pool 2
Hoxie 2, Bucklin 1
(25-16, 22-25, 26-18)
Centralia 2, Waverly 1
(21-25, 25-7, 25-18)
Hoxie 2, Waverly 0
(25-19, 25-19)
Centralia 2, Bucklin 1
(25-16, 25-27, 25-21)
Bucklin 2, Waverly 1
(13-25, 25-21, 25-21)
Centralia 2, Hoxie 1
(20-25, 25-12, 25-17)

Semifinal matches
St. John 2, Centralia 1
(25-15, 20-25, 25-11)
Olpe 2, Hoxie 0
(25-11, 25-17)

Third-place match
Centralia 2, Hoxie 1
(23-25, 25-12, 25-11)

Championship match
Olpe 2, St. John 1
(32-30, 20-25, 25-22)