St. Joseph earns spot in TAPPS state tournament
LOUISE - The St. Joseph Lady Flyers fought as hard as they could to dig themselves out of a Game 2 hole, but to no avail.
Considering the October they had, this challenge was easily answered. Now they will have a memorable beginning to November in San Antonio.
Senior outside hitter Carly Boles had 17 kills while Natalie Bales added 44 assists and 11 digs to help St. Joseph beat Sugar Land Fort Bend Christian 3-1 in the TAPPS 4A regional playoffs on Tuesday at the Louise gym.
"I'm a little bit in shock after the three weeks we've had that the kids can bounce back that way," said a jubilant Lady Flyers co-coach Allyson Griffin. "We're going to the state tournament, baby."
The 25-14, 25-27, 25-18 and 25-12 win lifts St. Joseph to the state tournament for the fourth time since 1998.
St. Joseph plays either district rival Austin St. Dominic Savio in the semifinals. That game tips off in the Blossom Athletic Center on Friday at 11 a.m.
"This made my whole entire senior year and I couldn't ask for a better team to spend it with," Boles said.
On Oct. 13, a trip to Austin took an unexpected turn for St. Joseph when their team bus flipped over outside of Gonzales en route to a road game in Austin. No one on board sustained life-threatening injuries, but the crash brought the team together.
"Even if we didn't go through all that, it would be amazing to get to go to that state tournament and see what we can do," said senior defensive specialist Brooke Brooks.
Lauren Kurtz had 10 kills and 21 digs and Bales added six blocks defensively.
The Lady Flyers came out like a team that was hungry to clinch a trip to the Alamo City.
In Game 1, St. Joseph quickly built a five-point lead and lead by as many as 11.
"When we got out here and felt the ball, we just got out here and fought with all we had," Boles said.
Offensively, the Lady Flyers were able to work the ball to Carly Boles on the left side of the net and the Eagles couldn't answer.
She had four total kills from the left side in Game 1 and an Ybarbo spike helped the Lady Flyers take the opening frame 25-14.
The tables were turned in the second game as Fort Bend Christian put St. Joseph in an early 16-7 hole. A Boles kill and a Natalie Bales aced sparked a 13-5 run that tied things up at 23 points apiece in Game 2.
From there the teams traded points, but kills by Carly Rippel and Kaylee Marstron lifted the Eagles to a 27-25 win in Game 2.
"That proved that moment that we were the better team, the way we battled back like that," Griffin said.
Added Ybarbo: "We thought we had it and we kind of got relaxed."
Kurtz filled the role of Boles for the Lady Flyers in the pivotal third game of the match.
St. Joseph worked the ball to Kurtz on the left side throughout Game 3 where she scored five of her 10 kills.
The Lady Flyers jumped out to a 15-4 lead and took Game 3 25-18 on a Boles spike from the left side.
St. Joseph won 13 of the first 20 points in Game 4 and rode the lead to a win. Ybarbo recorded the two final kills of the match.
"It feels amazing, I've worked for this all my volleyball career," Brooks said. "It feels amazing."
The Lady Flyers will go for their first state volleyball championship this weekend. If St. Joseph gets past the semifinals, it will play for a state title on Saturday at 9 a.m.