Some good things did happen for St. Francis at last weekend’s Aerie Challenge volleyball tournament, but even in high school sports, victories and losses remain the bottom line.
And the bottom line is the Saints won just one of four matches to finish eighth in the 16-team tournament at Apple Valley High School.
“That’s not what we were looking for,” coach Tracey Norton said. “But there were some good teams there, and we played OK for the most part.”
St. Francis brushed aside Virginia in the opening round, then lost to Apple Valley, Caledonia and Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (DGF).
Caledonia, the ninth-ranked team in Class 2A, swept the Saints in two sets, but the second set was 31-29. DGF prevailed in a three-set match over the Saints, winning the final one 16-14.
Cretin-Derham Hall defeated Lakeville South in three sets in the championship match.
The Saints (4-4) played at Spring Lake Park in a North Suburban Conference match last night (Thursday). Next they play in a tournament at North Branch tomorrow (Saturday), where they’ll likely be favored to win.
Senior setter/outside hitter Angie Roberts had the 1,000th set assist of her career in the match against DGF. Roberts, a three-year varsity player and two-year starter, had 36 assists, 15 kills and 21 digs in the four matches at the Apple Valley tournament.
The Saints’ top hitter is 5-foot-11 senior Maggie Ewen, who had 16 kills against DGF and 40 in the four tournament matches last weekend. She had a season-high 22 kills in St. Francis’ four-set victory over White Bear Lake on Aug. 30.
Ewen, also the reigning state Class AA champion in the shot put and discus throws, is a premier athlete, but other teams know that. Therefore, it’s important for the Saints to develop other hitting threats.
“I think that’s huge,” Norton said. “We have a very good hitting team. Angie Roberts has been very good from the outside when we’re not asking her to set.”
Krista Sanow, a junior, has 67 set assists in eight matches. Five players – Ashley Wells, Caitlin Luby, Ewen, Roberts and Sanow – have at least 43 digs this season.
Norton said she hoped the North Branch tournament would give her more information that will help her solidify her lineup.
“Right now we have only four players set in our lineup, and we’ve had kind of a rotation in the other two spots,” she said.
On Sept. 20, St. Francis plays at Totino-Grace in a match between teams expected to contend for the North Suburban title.
“Totino-Grace and Chisago Lakes should be tough, but we think we’re right there with them,” Norton said.
Mike Shaughnessy is at firstname.lastname@example.org