Columbia volleyball team refuses to lose

 Pictured is the Columbia High School volleyball team following its first place finish in the Metro Classic tournament in Belleville on Saturday. (submitted photo)

Pictured is the Columbia High School volleyball team following its first place finish in the Metro Classic tournament in Belleville on Saturday. (submitted photo)

The wins keep coming for the Columbia High School volleyball team, which remained perfect at 24-0 following its first place showing in the Metro Classic tournament in Belleville over the weekend.

The Eagles posted two-set victories over Belleville East and Incarnate Word on Friday, and followed it up with two-set wins over Cor Jesu, Ursuline and Nerinx Hall on Saturday.

In fact, the Eagles have not lost a set since an Aug. 25 match against Althoff.
“Our serve-receive continues to be solid, which is a huge key to our success,” Columbia head coach Kelly Landgraf said. “One major factor to the wins this weekend was the girls’ ability to change and adjust to what the other teams were doing. It was 100 percent a team effort to win this tournament — every person on the team stepped up and played hard and consistent when they needed to.”

Senior outside hitter Colene Hamilton earned tourney Most Valuable Player honors, finishing with 48 kills, 46 digs and four blocks over the five matches. Hamilton posted 12 kills in the tourney title win over Nerinx Hall.

Elizabeth Fleming dished out 113 assists in the tournament. Other key performers for the Eagles in the tourney were Jordan Hausmann (37 kills, 12 blocks), Kelly Metter (16 kills, 57 digs, eight blocks) and Ellie Stone (69 digs).

“It was a super exciting weekend,” Landgraf said. “As a team, we are seeing much more consistency offensively and defensively.”

Prior to the tourney, Columbia posted Cahokia Conference wins over Carlyle last Tuesday, 25-11, 25-9, and Breese Central on Thursday, 25-23, 25-17. Hamilton had nine kills against Carlyle and 10 kills against Carlyle. Fleming had 23 points and 22 assists against Carlyle. Hausmann had 13 kills and seven blocks against Central.

Columbia played Red Bud on Tuesday and will host Wesclin on Thursday.

The Eagles aren’t the only red hot volleyball team in Monroe County these days. Waterloo has won nine of 10 matches since its Sept. 8 loss at Columbia, including two big Mississippi Valley Conference wins last week.

The Bulldogs (14-5) defeated Triad last Tuesday, 25-13, 25-17, and won at Jerseyville on Thursday, 25-9, 25-14.

Sam Kruse led the way with 13 kills total in the two matches, and had 10 points against Jerseyville.

Setting the table for Waterloo’s offense is Hannah Cope, who finished with 44 assists last week.

“The Bulldogs are coming together,” Waterloo head coach Angie Crawford said. “They are striving to close and finish with full mental focus.”

While crediting her team’s offensive exploits, Crawford said defense is the name of the game for the Bulldogs.

“It all begins with defense,” she said. “Skylar Geske, Megan Gilliam, Sam Kruse and Hannah Cope were the strengthย  of our defense.”

Waterloo is currently locked in a three-way tie for first in the MVC with Highland and Mascoutah at 5-1. The Bulldogs hosted conference foe Civic Memorial on Tuesday.

On Thursday, Waterloo plays at Gibault in a cross-town rivalry showdown.

The Hawks are 11-8 after dropping four of five matches in the tough Metro Classic tourney. Gibault lost to Nerinx Hall, Mater Dei, Quincy and Parkway West before topping Mt. Pulaski in three sets, 15-25, 25-15, 25-19.

Kelly Dooley led the way with 12 kills and three blocks against Mt. Pulaski. She has 150 kills this season.

Bailey Lehmann added nine points and seven kills.

Hillary Wessel leads the team in points this season with 81. Caralyn Papenberg leads the team in blocks with 28.

Gibault played at Mater Dei on Tuesday.

Valmeyer improved to 13-9 on the season with a 25-13, 25-20 victory over Marissa on Monday.

The Pirates lead the Kaskaskia Division standings at 6-0 and will host rival New Athens on Thursday. On Tuesday, the Pirates played at Alton Marquette.

Jordyn Killy leads the Pirates in kills this season with 132 and blocks with 38. Guin Kohnz leads the team in points with 113 and assists with 247.

Dupo is 5-13 following losses to Steeleville, New Athens and Marissa in the Sparta tourney over the weekend. The Tigers hosted Lebanon on Tuesday and will host Granite City on Wednesday.

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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.

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