Finally, Lourdes Academy has gotten over the hill.
After appearing in eight regional finals in the past nine seasons, the Knights were finally able to emerge with a victory, topping top-seeded Laconia in four sets on Saturday night.
The Knights breezed through the first two sets and then won the match in the fourth, posting the 25-16, 25-13, 22-25, 25-21 victory.
To be able to win it in the fourth was huge. You never want to go to a fifth set if you don’t have to,” Lourdes coach Jon Ellmann said. “We played the best ball of the season over the first two sets and then kind of handed them the game in the third set. The fourth set was back and forth and to be able to make the plays when we had to keep the advantage was really, really huge.”
Ellmann said that one the keys to the teams victory was the balance it displayed in the match.
Three players finished with at least nine kills for Lourdes, with Jess Roberts leading the way with 14, Laura Chier adding 11 and Hunter Godfroy chipping in nine.
“We didn’t have to ride any one person for a set,” Ellmann said. “That’s what you have to do to be successful.”
Sam Jaeke turned in another all-around effort with team highs in assists (24), blocks (3) and aces (6).
The Knights advance to a sectional play on Thursday at Markesan.
Lourdes Academy def. Laconia, 25-16, 25-13, 22-25, 25-21
LA leaders: Karley Bartlett 23 digs; Sam Jaeke 8 digs, 24 assists, 3 blocks, 6 aces; Kelley Hollmaier 13 assists; Crystal Combs 2 blocks; Jess Roberts 14 kills, 2 aces; Laura Chier 11 kills; Hunter Godfroy 9 kills.