September 12th, 2010

Assumption Takes Invitational Tourney Title

Paul Najjar

CSN Staff Writer


Assumption Takes Invitational Tourney Title
photo from ahsrockets.org

Rockets, St. Joseph's clash in high profile LIVT final

See the CSN TV section on the main page for full video highlights of the LIVT championship match

The Assumption Rockets and St. Joseph’s Academy (MO) Angels staged quite a battle for the championship of the Louisville Invitational Volleyball Tournament held at the Ohio Valley Volleyball Center. Top ranked St. Joseph’s (PrepVolleyball.com) and fifth ranked Assumption showed exactly why they are ranked among the very best in the nation. The Rockets took the championship in three well-played games 25-16, 15-25, 25-21.

The match featured no less than eight division one commits, including St. Joseph’s Middle Blocker Taylor Masterson and Assumption’s Courtney Robison, both heading to Alabama next year. With all of the talent on the court, the match had a highly charged atmosphere. “This weekend we learned about intensity,” said Masterson. “Our team clicked this weekend in a way we haven’t all year. We played pretty well, and we still have to work on it in practice, but we were pretty intense this weekend.”

Early action in the first game saw Assumption rattle off 9 of their 13 points with kills as they took a 13-6 lead over the visitors from St. Louis. Assumption’s Senior Outside Hitter Claire Gerwig led her team with 4 kills in that game and helped establish a big presence at the net on several occasions.

After a couple of losses in the past week at highly ranked Muncie, IN Burris high school and at home to Mercy Academy, the Rockets had to make some adjustments. “We just knew we had to focus if we want to achieve our goal at the end of the year,” said Gerwig. “We all got in the locker room and said we’re gonna do whatever it takes. We came together and played phenomenal volleyball all weekend.”

As quickly as they were dispatched in game one, St. Joseph’s had to make adjustments of their own to stay in the match. “Our first game was ugly,” said Angels’ coach Karen Davis. But the Angels squad quickly put that poor performance behind them with two scoring runs of 4 and 6 points to help seal their second game win.

“We were intimidated when we walked out there and you could see it on the girls’ faces,” admitted Davis. “In the second game the girls decided ‘hey, we can play with these girls’ and we passed well and played good defense. In the third game we were right there with them the whole way.”

The third game was a test of wills and it appeared that Assumption, after playing 10 matches in the past 9 days, might crack first. St. Joseph’s took control at 19-16 on Senior Outside Hitter Helen Boyle’s second kill of the final game. “We did the little things right in the second game and for most of the third game,” said Boyle. “Little things like getting our serves in, getting our passes up and blocking well. We were just trying to get everything to click together as a team.”

But when the Angels took that 19-16 lead, Assumption coach Ron Kordes called a time out to calm his team and discuss strategy. “We let momentum get away, especially after that first game,” said Kordes. “But at that point in the match, we just needed a couple of kids to step up. We left Katie George (Senior Setter/Outside Hitter) in the match and that allowed Courtney to play a little more defense instead of rushing to the net so much. Glad it worked.”

And it worked to the tune of a 9-2 Assumption run to close the game. The win put another big notch in the Assumption program. “These kids can be better than they think they are,” Kordes said. “We have to work a little more to overcome the nerves and the panic that come with high pressure games. But I’m hoping we can take a bundle of confidence from this win and from the performance throughout the tournament.”

Nine days. 10 matches. A 3-2 record against some of the top competition in the country. Not a bad effort for the Assumption girls. Add another trophy to that ever-expanding case.

Third Place Match

Sacred Heart Academy avenged a 3-0 loss two weeks ago at home against nationally ranked rival Mercy Academy in the third place match of the Louisville Invitational Volleyball Tournament, winning 22-25, 26-24, 25-15. Brothers Eric (Sacred Heart Academy) and Todd Garvey (Mercy Academy) staged another intense family battle on the volleyball court at the Ohio Valley Volleyball Center with Eric taking home bragging rights this time.

The past two seasons ended with these teams facing each other for the Kentucky state championship and the results were the same in both: big wins and consecutive state titles for Mercy Academy.

But this match had a different complexion. The Sacred Heart team showed plenty of resolve as they rebounded from a first game loss and a 14-10 deficit in the second game of the match. Led by their emotional team leader, Senior Outside Hitter Monica McGreal, the Valkyries pecked away at the Mercy lead with a strong defensive effort and some top notch serving. “I think we came out with a lot of intensity,” said McGreal. “Everyone did what they needed to do to win. If we messed up we just came right back and we stayed fired up. We never let them get in our head.”

Mercy Academy lost its second straight game of the day to big rivals. Senior Libero Natalie Keck talked about the main cause of those two losses. “I definitely would say it’s our composure that let us down,” said Keck. “We need to find the desire to win every point, every game. But we’ll stay positive, keep working hard and bounce back.”

Coach Eric Garvey said the difference was indeed in the desire. “All weekend our team just kept fighting whether we were up or down,” he said. “We decided we were going to make other teams earn every point. Mercy got us before when we weren’t clicking very well, but our hitters stayed aggressive and we got them out of their rhythm a bit.”

What sealed the match for Sacred Heart were three big runs of 8 points, 4 points and 5 points in the final game. “We served really, really well, and we substituted a few times to get specific people to serve,” said Garvey. “I’m glad we were able to gain some momentum from that and that it worked out well for us.”

Sacred Heart Academy avenged a 3-0 loss two weeks ago at home against nationally ranked rival Mercy Academy in the third place match of the Louisville Invitational Volleyball Tournament. Brothers Eric (Sacred Heart Academy) and Todd Garvey (Mercy Academy) staged another intense family battle on the volleyball court at the Ohio Valley Volleyball Center with Eric taking home bragging rights this time.

Semifinals

The semi-finals of the L.I.V.T. featured three of the top teams in the country. PrepVolleyball.com’s top ranked team St. Joseph’s Academy from St. Louis, 5th ranked Louisville Assumption high school and 13th ranked Mercy Academy from Louisville were all vying for supremacy in this talented final four grouping. Rounding out the final four was Louisville’s Sacred Heart Academy.

ST. JOSEPH’S OVER SACRED HEART 28-26, 25-22

St. Joseph’s found the early going very rough against Sacred Heart. The unranked Valkyries sped to a 6-1 lead in the first game of the match as they controlled both sides of the net with great serves, big blocks and scrappy defense. “I thought we came out very intense and really got them out of rhythm and out of their system with some pretty tough serving,” said Sacred Heart Coach Eric Garvey. “We’ve been playing well all weekend and we tried to keep them off balance a bit. We just couldn’t hold them off.”

St. Joseph’s battled back from the early deficit behind strong play from Senior Outside Hitter and LSU commit Helen Boyle. The Valkyries had the winning point on their serve three times at the end of the match, but each time the Angels of St. Joe’s found a way to earn the point and extend the match eventually prevailing with a 28-26 win.

The second game of the match found the Valkyries jumping out to a 14-5 lead. At that point St. Joseph’s countered with five consecutive points with two of those coming off the hand of Boyle. At 17-17, St. Joseph’s power came through repeatedly as Senior MB Taylor Masterson put away two kills and stuffed two blocks as they finished with a flourish and a 25-22 win.

ASSUMPTION OVER MERCY 25-18, 25-14

What a difference a few days makes. Assumption avenged their 5-game loss to Mercy Tuesday evening with a strong display of defense and teamwork. The Rockets raced to a 10-4 lead in the first game of their semifinal match with Mercy that would never be challenged. The Rockets enjoyed five-point runs two separate times in this match with Senior Middle Blocker Jeni Houser leading the charge.

Houser and her teammates controlled the net for much of the first game as they registered 16 kills from five different players as well as three blocks for scores. “I think we were ready and we just wanted to go out there and get a little revenge for our loss Tuesday,” said Houser. “We had a different mentality. We were so intense and we probably wanted it a little more. We worked on our blocking all week in practice and it paid off.”

Senior Setter Courtney Robison consistently put her teammates in a position to score with outstanding sets. “We came out with more enthusiasm and more confidence (than Tuesday night),” Robison said. “We had some good practices and came together as a team. Our blocking was so strong today and our passing made the offense so much better in this match.”

The second game featured much of the same with Assumption racking up points at the net with stuff blocks and kills seemingly at will.

Those Assumption blocks were an intimidating force and Mercy had no response for it. “They just wanted it more than us,” said Mercy coach Todd Garvey. “I warned our kids about it all week. We just didn’t come ready to play at Assumption’s level. They played a lot better defense and played a lot harder than us. They earned the win.”

Quarterfinals

Eight Catholic high schools earned their way into the Gold Division bracket of the Louisville Invitational Volleyball Tournament. Here’s how they fared in quarterfinal action at the L.I.V.T.

The Gold Division seeding held true to form in the quarterfinals as seeds 1 thru 4 all advanced to the semifinals. Top seeded St. Joseph’s Academy from St. Louis breezed past Kentucky’s St. Henry 25-7, 25-15. Fourth-seed Sacred Heart Academy from Louisville defeated Northern Kentucky’s Notre Dame Academy 25-17, 25-21. Third seed and host of the tournament, Louisville’s Assumption dispatched Louisville Holy Cross 25-15, 25-15.

Rounding out the final four in the Gold Division was second seed Mercy Academy from Louisville. Mercy was extended to three games by Franklin, Ohio’s Bishop Fenwick high school. Mercy dropped the first game of the match 23-25, but that loss seemed to wake up the 13th ranked Jaguars as they rolled to 25-10, 25-14 wins in the final two games of the match.

Friday

Opening round action in the Louisville Invitational Volleyball Tournament took place Friday evening with all of the top seeded teams advancing to the Gold Division playoffs. One upset was registered by Sacred Heart as they defeated Ravenwood high school from Nashville, TN. Ravenwood came into the tournament ranked #12 in the nation by MaxPreps, but Sacred Heart prevailed in three games 23-25, 25-20, 25-16. The Valkyries lost twice in the past two weeks to highly ranked Assumption high school and Mercy Academy.

Assumption breezed through their pool knocking off Male and Newport Central Catholic.

St. Joseph's Academy from St. Louis, MO, struggled to find their legs in their first match v. Ryle high school. "We accepted that the girls may have been a little sluggish early," Angels' coach Karen Davis said. "We had a long travel day, but this is a great competition and each game we get a little better." St. Joseph's eventually powered their way past Ryle and Eastern high school, with a dazzling show of ball handling from Sophomore Setter Alyssa Jensen and high-flying kills from Outside Hitter Helen Boyle.

The eight teams advancing to the Gold Division are all Catholic schools. In addition to Assumption and St. Joseph's, Mercy Academy, Sacred Heart Academy, Holy Cross, Notre Dame (KY) and Notre Dame (OH) and Bishop Fenwick all advanced to the Gold Division playoffs.

 

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