St. Michael the Archangel didn’t bring home a trophy from the state volleyball tournament, but they did set the bar high for future Guardians teams.
St. Michael wrapped up its inaugural season with a fourth-place finish at the Missouri Class 2 state tournament, falling to Hermann 25-17, 25-10 in straight sets during Saturday’s consolation match at the Show Me Center.
“We fought hard in the first set,” said Guardians coach Sheridan Zarda, a Kansas State graduate. “Defensively and offensively, we still didn’t connect very well with our setter in the middle, so we were kind of struggling with that in the first game. In the second game, I’ll give it to Hermann. They didn’t let anything fall. Their defense was phenomenal.”
Abigail Salanski notched five kills and eight digs to lead the way for the Guardians, who finished the year 18-18-2 overall. Calista Bokenkroger had 10 assists for St. Michael, while Emma Foley paced the defense with a game-high 12 digs.
Brooke Grosse and Symantha Fredrick each had seven kills and 10 digs for Hermann, (31-7-2), which had a .421 hitting percentage en route to a dominant second set.
St. Michael dropped into the consolation match after losing all three of its pool-play matches during the tournament’s opening day.
The Guardians lost 25-9, 25-14 against Hermann during the opening match, were defeated 25-20, 25-10 by Strafford in the second match, and fell to eventual champion St. Pius X of Festus 25-9, 25-11 in the final match of pool play.
It was the first state tournament appearance for a St. Michael team in any team sport, as the school officially opened its doors in August.
The team got off to a 3-8 start and remained under .500for the season until winning its district tournament.
“At the beginning of the season, I don’t even think they believed that this was a thing, that this could happen,” Zarda said. “The heart, the grit, the endurance they’ve shown and the perseverance that they’ve shown have set a new standard now at St. Michael for our volleyball program.
“So, I’m very proud of each and every single one of them.”