HENDERSON, NEVADA- The St. Lucy Regents have played their way into the Durango Fall Classic Championship Division qualifying rounds for the first time in the program's history by going 1-1 in pool play and winning their cross-over match earlier this evening. Here's how the day played out.
There are no easy teams in this tournament, and the Regents saw first hand just how tough the competition is when it faced last year's CIF State Semi-Finals foe La Costa Canyon and 2-time CIF opponent South Torrance in pool play. LCC took its match against South in 3 contested sets; 17-5, 25-14, 25-17. Then it was the Regents turn with South.
In typical fashion, Lucy's got out to an early lead, forcing South to call a time out trailing 2-7. Undeterred, the Regents kept marching, stretching their lead to as many as 8. But South found something in the tank and mounted a furious comeback. They cut the lead to 1 point at 20-21 before siding out with a service error. That was all the Regents needed and they closed out the set on a kill by Princess Vanessa Caustrita to end the game 25-21. Set two looked like it was going to be all St. Lucy's, who got out to a 20-12 lead behind some crushing kills by Loryn Carter and incredible defensive play by Princess Arden Davis. South, not one to go easy into the night, rallied for a few late pushes but just did not have enough to overcome the deficit and ended up losing the second set 19-25. South's 0-2 start set up a battle between LCC and the Regents for first place in the pool.
It was indeed a battle. Lucy's and LCC started set one strong, trading points until LCC picked up the pace and was able to amass a 15-10 lead. The Regents found themselves trailing by 7 points before they were able to put the wheels back on the wagon, but they did eventually find their stride. Eryn Young made a nice mid-set service run, getting the Regents to 15-17 and forcing LCC to take a time out. Undaunted, and un-iced, Eryn followed the timeout with an ace and eventually the Regents tied the game at 17. Back and forth it went from there, with ties at 17, 19, 20 and 21. LCC was able to pull it out in the end and hand the Regents their first loss of the season, 25-23 LCC.
Set 2 was contested start to finish. Each team would get a one to two point lead here and there, Lucy's doing it behind great serving by Princess Davis and Sydney Bast, and great team play on both sides of the net. They were tied at 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 18, 20 and 23. The Regents took a 21-20 lead on a solo block by Roni LaPierre and stretched their advantage to 23-21- which LCC quickly erased. This time it was the Regents who had a little bit extra in the end and they were able to close out the set on a tip to the front corner by middle Dianna Rohrer.
Set 3, however, was a different story from the previous sets. LCC looked to be in control of the match from the start and ran up a 20-12 lead. But those gutty little Regents just don't have quit in them. They dug down and found the energy to climb back into the set and cut the lead to 6 at 15-21, but that's as far as they got. LCC took the set 25-16 and the match 2 games to 1. This loss set the Regent up to play a cross over match against the first place winner of Pool 12, Xavier.
The Regents clearly did not like coming out on the losing end of the LCC match and they took their frustration out on a surprised Xavier team. The Regents led set 1 from start to finish, with a baffled Xavier team calling time out trailing 2-7 and again trailing 7-13. Mo Hageman broke the set open with a strong service run that extended the Regent lead to 11 at 18-7. St. Lucy's took set 1 25-14.
Xavier came out strong in set 2 and took a 4 point lead, which they maintained for a while. At mid-set, the Regents were finally able to make their move. The Regents tied the game for the first time at 11 and took their first lead on a service ace by Roni LaPierre to go up 12-11. Then Princess Davis went to work. She had been playing lights out all day and capped the night off with an 8 point serving streak that included 2 aces and saw the Regents leading 21-13 before Xavier finally sided out. The Regents closed out the match when outside hitter Maddie Gilmartin tooled the block to finish set 2 25-15.
The Regents take on Horizon tomorrow morning at 8:30. The winner of that match will move into the top 8 and compete for the Championship. Stay tuned volleyball fans. I'll keep you posted!