The Lady Flyers (22-1) won in three sets, 25-9, 25-10 and 25-3. With the win Thursday at the St. Paul Convocation Center, they advance to district semifinal match at 6 p.m. Tuesday vs. South Central (14-10) at Willard High School.
St. Paul’s ninth point in the third set happened with a lot of athleticism and excitement topped off with a tremendous save to keep the ball alive.
“Claire Spettel ran down an awesome ball — way behind the back line and popped it up and then Libby Dvorak set it over. Just awesome hustle from the kids tonight. Those are the kinds of points that can make a difference,” St. Paul coach Nancy Miller said.
The home crowd responded in kind, with enthusiastic applause and yells when the Lady Flyers gained the ninth point.
“I thought we hit the ball very well tonight. I thought that my big three — Tess (Lepley), Meghan (Hedrick) and Kamryn (Maxwell) — did a great job . I also thought Megan Hammersmith and Holly Powers (were) very effective at the net tonight. You know, they might not have the big numbers that the other three do, but they were effective,” Miller said.
St. Mary Central Catholic ended the season at 5-17.
“You’re playing one of the premiere programs — and definitely a premiere team — in the state this year. I thought we did a lot of good things. I think that at times we played very well against them,” said SMCC coach John Fell, a Norwalk graduate.
“We are not a very tall team, so our ability to block tonight was almost non-existent, which just left it for the back row,” he added. “They did a lot of digs. I thought our libero (senior) Kaylee (Fetter) played an outstanding game tonight. We hate to lose her, but that’s the way it goes. … I hate to lose all four of my seniors.
Fell said St. Paul can hurt you in several different ways.
“They’re tough. With our inability to block, it just made it difficult for us to stay in system at all,” he said. “We’re just scrambling constantly, trying to keep the ball alive where they are able to stay in system and attacking us constantly, which puts so much stress on your team.”
Chandler led St. Paul with 16 points and four aces. The junior defensive specialist also had 12 digs.
“Lauren probably has been our No. 1 server all year. She steps behind that service line and she serves aggressively. She can hit any zone that we give her; she is just very accurate,” Miller said.
Spettel served 12 points and had three aces.
Lepley and Hedrick each had 12 kills. Maxwell added seven.
Sophomore Kennedy Stang contributed 10 digs and Bleile had 38 assists.
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