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Warriors’ Rebuilding Season Ends In 5-Set Thriller

By Michael Boyd Jr.

Herald Sports Editor

Valle Catholic head volleyball coach Nancy Fischer, in her 40th season at the helm, goes over her notes as her team awaits action during the Warriors five-set thriller loss to Potosi in the MSHSAA Class 3 District 2 semifinals at the Toulon Fielhouse at Central High in Park Hills last Monday, Oct. 24. (PHOTO BY MICHAEL BOYD JR. / STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD)

Valle Catholic sophomore Abree Zipprich (left) and freshman Ava Bauman (13) try to block a tip from Potosi’s Ava Robart (7) as senior Kristen Drury (6) and sophomore libero Addi Donze (3) await the result during the Warriors’s season-ending, five-set district semifinal loss last Monday, Oct. 24, 2022. The Warriors season ended with 19 wins. (PHOTO BY MICHAEL BOYD JR. / STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD)

PARK HILLS, Mo.    Wow. What a match.

Third-seeded Valle Catholic and second-seeded Potosi, both stateranked, engaged in an outstanding, back-and-fourth volleyball battle that kept all fans at the T.J. Foulon Fieldhouse on the edge of their seats to the very end during the nightcap last Monday.

Unfortunately, Valle’s six-year district title reign came to an end along with its season in the thrilling semifinal, despite a furious and thrilling rally that forced a deciding fifth set.

The 12th-ranked and youthful Warriors fell 27-25, 17-25, 20-25, 26-24, 8-15, so the eighth-ranked Trojans advanced to the district championship game instead.

The Warriors were hoping to return to the final four like they did the last two years and six total times since 2010 when they won it all.

“We fell a little short,” said 40th-year Warriors head coach Nancy Fischer, whose team finished just shy of 20 victories. “I think our girls are proud of what they’ve accomplished this season but disappointed that we didn’t make it to the (district) championship (Wednesday) night. But, I’m proud of what they’ve done.”

Valle was just shy of 20 victories on the season and almost joined four other MAAA conference rivals with 20-or-more wins in Farmington, Central, Potosi and Ste. Genevieve.

If you missed it, the MSHSAA Class 3 District 2 semifinal fight very much was worth staying into the night for all who witnessed it at Central High.

The Warriors (19-13-1) eventually succombed to Potosi’s size and power from its triple-threat frontline that included 6-foot-3 Blair Sitton, 5-11 Ava Robart and 5-8 Paige West. Valle, which average height is 5-7, had a total of 104 digs in the match.

“Part of it was our blocking,” said Fischer of her team’s six total blocks. “(Potosi’s) front row was big and they caused us some grief. It seemed like all evening we were playing defense. When they got kills, they were great hits over our blockers, through our blockers, around our blockers. I thought we played as well as we possibly could, but Potosí played really well tonight.”

Yes they did.

Although Valle got a combined 24 kills from its two most experience players    junior Makayla Joggerst and senior Macy Wolk    the Warriors trailed in every set, including the two they won with extra volleys.

“We did it with not a whole lot of offense,” Fischer said. “We don’t have the high-powered offense we did last year and we don’t have very tall players, but we’re definitely going to work on offense next year.”

Valle’s offense recorded 40 points on serve with eight aces plus 43 total kills and 43 assists, but that was not enough this night.

Despite tying the match at 2-all, Valle again found itself trailing 5-0 to start the fifth game.

“It was especially wearing in the fifth set to be behind,” Fischer said “That was tough, especially when we were down by five points right off the bat. That was pretty difficult. And even then we were clawing our way back. Had it not been for a few critical mistakes, I think that maybe could have got back into that. We thought if we could’ve got within a couple of points in that set, we could’ve done the same thing as we had done in the first and the fourth. I thought the kids approached it really well. We were just working point by point by point to try to get back in that (set) and we did what we could.”

Sophomore Ade Weiler served up 10 points with three aces and 11 kills, plus had 32 digs and 22 service receptions defensively.

Wolk added seven kills. Joggerst had eight points with an ace, and 13 kills, plus had 12 digs and 22 receptions.

Sophomore Abree Zipprich had three points with two aces, six kills, 19 assists and 13 digs.

Sophomore Claire Drury had four points with an ace and four kills. Her senior sister Kristen Drury had 17 assists and 16 digs.

Sophomore libero Addi Donze was extremely busy guarding the back row with 20 digs and 44 receptions. Senior Senior Riley Brown had five points and five digs.

Freshman Brooklyn Gibbs had four points.

For the Trojans (24-5-4), Robart had 27 kills and three blocks, including the fifth set’s final five spikes.

Sitton had 13 kills and seven blocks. West had 16 kills, 15 digs and three blocks.

Kadence Sadler had a match-high 51 assists. Audrey Neel, who served up the 5-0 to start the fifth, had 15 digs and three kills.

Carsyn Yount had 16 digs.

Now Potosi gets the other school from river city, the Dragons of Ste. Genevieve High.

While the Dragons and Warriors may be crosstown rivals, the Trojans best remember that off the playing field both the Dragons and Warriors are either friends or family and that many of their fans are childhood or longtime friends.

The Dragons (29-4-2) defeated fourth-seeded host Rebels (20-13) in four sets, 25-15, 12-25, 25-14, 25-19, in the other semifinal.

Missouri State High Schools Activities Association