TOPEKA, Kan.—5A sees a five-peat, and it’s not Miege.
If there is one thing you can almost be certain of, it is that the 5A State Volleyball Tournament will probably end with Bishop Miege holding up the big trophy. Coming into 2012, the Stags had four state titles in a row, and seven championships going back to 2002.
But this year, it was a new player in 5A extending the championship streak to five in a row. After taking the last four in 4A, St. James Academy moved to 5A in the middle of the season and stormed onto the scene with a 25-19, 25-6 win over Shawnee Heights in the finals.
Late in the competitive first set, Thunder head coach Nancy Dorsey addressed her team and let them know they were a family, and they were going to get it done.
“I just saw the look on their faces, and I knew it was over,” said Dorsey. “I really did. I just knew in my heart that they were not going to let another ball hit the floor, and they just started making huge plays.”
Family pulling together was a big theme at St. James throughout the last week. During the sub-state tournament, Dorsey’s father collapsed and was in critical condition throughout the Thunder’s state tournament run.
With raw emotion from the week, St. James rallied.
“The whole week we have been talking about family,” said Dorsey. “That is something that I think is so important in a program and something I have preached since the day I have been at St. James. We are a family. We play as a family, we pray as a family, we win and lose as a family.”
Shawnee Heights finished second after a huge three-set win over Bishop Miege. The Thunderbirds knocked out the four-time defending champion by outlasting the Stags in the first set 29-27, losing the second 15-25, but regrouping to take the third 25-20.
Their prize was a second place finish after a second straight match with a four-time defending state champion.
Kapaun Mt. Carmel made it to Saturday and fell to the eventual champion St. James in the semifinals 25-10, 25-13. After Shawnee Heights’ win over Bishop Miege, like Shawnee Heights, Kapaun had to face a second straight team which came into the season looking for a fifth straight title. The Crusaders fell to the Stags in the third place match 25-18, 25-16.
Washburn Rural starts a new 6A streak
Up until 2010, when Manhattan won a state title, Washburn Rural owned 6A volleyball. Winners of four straight before the Indians snapped the streak, it didn’t take long for the Jr. Blues to get back to business as usual.
With a 25-19, 25-19 win over Blue Valley Stilwell, Washburn Rural has now won two in a row, stringing championships together like head coach Kevin Bordewick expects his teams to do.
“There are big expectations and they don’t change much from year to year,” said Bordewick. “We have had some great groups before them that taught them what it was about. They’ve taught these younger ones what it’s about. Tomorrow we will probably be looking for next year.
The Jr. Blues dispatched Olathe East in the semifinals 25-15, 25-14 to get back to the championship game. But Blue Valley didn’t provide a tomato can for Rural.
The Tigers advanced with a tough 25-20, 25-21 over Gardner-Edgerton, and were no strangers to the Jr. Blues.
“They scared me,” said Bordewick. “They were really on a hot streak. We watched them play on the other court yesterday and they were really solid. They gave us everything we could handle.”
Gardner-Edgerton took third for the second year in a row, beating Olathe East for the second year in a row, this time 25-16, 25-18.