Strengthened by accident, St. Joseph eager to retake court
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TAPPS District 3-4A volleyball tournament, St. Joseph vs. San Antonio Christian
When: Thursday, 6:30 p.m.
Where: St. Joseph Gym, 110 E. Red River Street
A banner has hung behind the bleachers in the St. Joseph gym all year. Though its words are usually obscured by parents and other supporters at volleyball matches the biblical quotation may have never been more appropriate.
The passage, from Philippians 4:13 states: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." The Lady Flyers certainly believe their steps have been ordered over the past week and will look to funnel those emotions into a volleyball match.
Thursday, the Lady Flyers (29-5, 6-1) host San Antonio Christian in a TAPPS 3-4A district tournament match. It is a rematch of a Sept. 22 match St. Joseph won in three games.
More importantly, the match will be the first time the team has taken the court since an Oct. 13 bus crash just south of Gonzales.
None of the players were seriously injured after the wreck where the team's bus flipped over on its way to a match against Austin Hyde Park.
Since the accident volleyball coach Allyson Griffin has given her girls a new mantra: "we are all battered and bruised, but we are not broken. The spirit of the Lady Flyers is untouchable."
"Everyone always says to take a positive out of a negative," said junior outside hitter Lauren Kurtz. "One of our positives is we'll come back strong. It's made us stronger and made us a family."
On the court, the Lady Flyers, winners of 22 of their last 24 matches, have been tight all season. Griffin's team is the No. 2 seed, behind Austin St. Dominic Savio, entering the tournament.
The Lady Flyers last took the court in an Oct. 9 victory over Austin Regents. They had a seven day lay-off in September, but that was under dramatically different circumstances. St. Joseph responded from that layoff with a sweep over Corpus Christi Incarnate Word.
"I have no doubt it's going to be an emotional game," Griffin said. "It means the world that we get to hit the court. We're just luck to be able to step on the court."
Should the Lady Flyers win Thursday, and win Saturday in the tournament title game, they would be the TAPPS 3-4A champions. It's a title that might have almost as much symbolism as the banner behind the bleachers.
"It' would be really special," Kurtz said. "Our bus driver (Clint Parks) is going through a really hard time and it would help us overcome this obstacle as a team."