St. Joseph continues to roll, beats Austin Regents
For outside hitter Carly Boles, defensive specialist Brooke Brooks and middle blocker Analise Ybarbo, Tuesday was the latest in a year full of lasts.
The trio of Lady Flyers seniors made their way to the St. Joseph gym for one final regular season home game.
"Mixed feelings," Ybarbo said. "It was a very sensitive topic, but I was ready to come out energized, play our game and win."
Boles led the team with 14 kills, Brooks chipped in 15 digs and Ybarbo added four kills and four blocks to help the Lady Flyers sweep the Austin Regents Knights 25-15, 25-23, 25-17 on Tuesday.
The win improved St. Joseph's record to 29-5 and 6-1 in TAPPS District 3-4A. The Lady Flyers will most likely be seeded second in the upcoming district tournament and host a second round game on Oct. 18.
The game was a designated Parents Night where players from the sub-varsity and varsity teams presented their parents with a white rose each.
Afterward, junior outside hitter and defensive specialists Lauren Kurtz read a special tribute to the three seniors.
"I'm like the team mom and whenever she said that, it hit home that I wouldn't be here next year," Brooks said. "Somebody else has got to step up and be the team mom next year."
St. Joseph co-head coach Allyson Griffin was also reflective about the seniors.
"Analise is a leader on the net, Brooke is very important to us on the back row," Griffin said. "She's loud, she talks, she moves and Carly was the missing link. She came up and filled a void for us."
Once the sentiments ended and the match got underway, it didn't take the Lady Flyers long to find a weakness in the Knights defense and exploit it.
St. Joseph was able to defend Regents offensive opportunities, cycle the ball to the left side and spike home points.
"The sets were perfect and hitting it was simple because everything was together," Boles said.
The Lady Flyers used a 10-1 run to turn an early four-point deficit into a 16-11 lead.
Kurtz took command of Game 1 offensively during the stretch. She scored four points from the left side of the Lady Flyers net.
"When we were able to run our offense, they couldn't stop us," Griffin said.
Regents regrouped in Game 2 and put St. Joseph in an early hole.
With the Lady Flyers trailing 17-10, Griffin called a timeout and reminded the team there's a reason they had only one district loss.
"I asked them in the second game not to let them take that first win away from them, don't even let them even to score," Griffin said.
After Regents senior outside hitter Megan Stookey had a service error, Kurtz had another kill from the left side and sparked a St. Joseph rally.
The Lady Flyers won 13 of the next 18 points to force a game point where junior setter Natalie Bales came up with an ace to give St. Joseph a 2-0 match lead.
The Lady Flyers had the momentum and jumped out to a 9-2 lead in Game 3 before Ybarbo had the final spike that clinched the match for the Lady Flyers.
"It was quite evident that we carried it all," Brooks said. "We got the first five points without them scoring a single one and that's what really got us going in Game 3."
One of the only things that went wrong for St. Joseph in Game 3 was a Brooks dig attempt that went into the rafters and hit a folded up basketball goal hanging above the Lady Flyer bench.
Although the point cut the Lady Flyers' lead to 24-16, it provided a moment where Brooks and Griffin exchanged a smile. Brooks had a dig on the final point of the match.
"I kind of had the feeling that it was going to happen," Brooks said. "If it's going to happen to someone, it's going to happen to me. I don't have the world's greatest luck and as soon as it went high I was like 'It's in that basketball goal, it's not coming out of there.'"
Kurtz recorded a team high 14 digs to go along with 12 kills while Bales added 32 assists, 13 digs and three blocks.
The Lady Flyers finish the regular season on Saturday with a noon match at Austin Hyde Park.