By ERIC X. VICCARO
Success was the name of the game for both the Ste. Genevieve and Valle Catholic volleyball teams during the 2020 season.
The Warriors recorded a 30-win season, capped by a best-ever-in-Class 2 second-place finish at the Missouri State High School Activities Association state tournament in Cape Girardeau.
The Dragons were 20-6, and reached the district championship match for the fifth consecutive year — and the first under head coach Carla Basler.
With so much good fortune, naturally, Ste. Genevieve and Valle Catholic players were given plenty of postseason awards.
Five Valle Catholic players were honored on the Mineral Area Activities Association small school division first and second teams.
Senior hitter Riley Siebert, junior middle blocker Ella Bertram and setter Sam Loida were all first-team selections with hitter Hailey Weibrecht and libero Rachel Blum on the second team.
“I think the young women who part of this year’s team learned some really valuable life lessons,” said Valle Catholic head coach Nancy Fischer, “about hard work, commitment to something bigger than yourself, and perseverance in the face of adversity. This year’s group can feel really proud of their accomplishments.”
Valle Catholic rallied to defeat Woodland in five sets during Super Sectional Saturday at Saxony Lutheran High School in Jackson. The Warriors nearly rallied to beat O’Fallon Christian in the state championship, losing the fifth game 19-17.
Valle Catholic finished the season with an outstanding .288 hitting efficiency, 272 ace serves (92.4 percent accuracy), 256 total ace blocks and 1,615 digs.
Bertram had 158 total ace blocks by herself, plus 307
kills. Siebert was the Warriors’ leader in kills with 427. Weibrecht added 244 kills, third best on the team.
Blum was an incredible player on defense and behind the service line. She recorded 65 aces, generated 326 points off her serve and had 384 digs. Loida distributed 981 assists to go with 266 digs and 280 service points.
As for the MAAA large school division, Ste. Genevieve setter Brittney Kreitler and libero Maci Reynolds were first-team choices. Outside hitter Dru Koetting was placed on the second team.
Kreitler and Reynolds also landed on the Class 3 District 2 first team, with Marysa Flieg, Tessa Grass, Abby Moore and Koetting all on the second team.
“Maci ended up with bruised hips and elbows,” said Basler during Ste. Genevieve’s Fall Sports Recognition event last Thursday.
Basler explained the original thought process was for Ste. Genevieve to operate a 6-2 offense heading into the season; however, that changed into a 5-1 just before the Dragons’ first match versus Festus on Sept. 1.
Kreitler first surpassed the 1,000-assist plateau before eventually finishing her scholastic career with 1,648 helpers (715 assists as a senior).