STE. GENEVIEVE – The Central volleyball team escaped a massive scare from motivated No. 4 seed Ste. Genevieve on Thursday evening to reach the Class 3, District 2 championship round.
Junior middle Blair Sitton sandwiched the go-ahead and clinching kills around a stellar defensive rally in between, and the Lady Rebels prevailed 25-19, 26-28, 23-25, 25-17, 15-12.
Madison Dunn emerged as perhaps the most consistent hitting option with 20 kills, and Sitton totaled 16 kills while executing six blocks in the semifinal victory.
Avery Johnson collected 14 kills, and setter Sydney Miles made 41 assists as top-seeded Central (25-4) captured its 12th win in 13 matches overall.
The Lady Rebels will attempt to defeat Valle Catholic for a fourth straight time this fall when they meet in the district final on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Ste. Genevieve (12-17-1) fueled an upset bid on its home court with sheer defensive effort, and gained a 2-1 game advantage after taking the second and third by narrow margins.
Central bolted to a 12-6 advantage in game four, and survived game five after the Dragons pocketed four consecutive points to erase a 12-8 deficit.
Emma Gegg paced a balanced attack with 12 kills, and thrived defensively with another team high of 23 digs for Ste. Genevieve. Kailynn Harmon added 10 kills plus five blocks.
Joleigh Parker was also steady all-around with nine kills, 30 assists and 15 digs, and Emme Browne had another solid outing since joining the varsity rotation with seven kills, 11 digs, 11 assists and two aces.
The Dragons are projected to return their entire squad next season with no departing seniors.
Kale Clements finished with four kills, five blocks, 15 digs and three ace serves. Sophia Huck chipped in five kills with four blocks, and Abby Boyer picked up 19 digs.
Valle Catholic 3, Potosi 1
STE. GENEVIEVE – Nothing was settled between Valle Catholic and Potosi after two sensational games carried well into extra points with their seasons on the line.
But the second-seeded Lady Warriors once again found a way to seize control, and completed a sweep of the three-match season series on Thursday night.
Brooklyn Gibbs served three aces among a team-high 19 points, and added 12 digs and 11 assists as Valle Catholic triumphed 30-28, 25-27, 25-18, 25-18 in the Class 3, District 2 semifinal round.
Senior Ade Weiler delivered a clutch performance with 12 kills, 23 digs and 14 serve receptions, and Brooklyn Weibrecht powered her way to 10 kills and five blocks.
Makayla Joggerst also sparkled with 10 kills, 21 digs, 19 receptions and three aces. Valle Catholic (25-7-2) booked another clash with Central in the title match on Saturday at Ste. Genevieve.
Potosi (21-9-3) relied heavily on star attacker Ava Robart, who wrapped a huge junior campaign with 28 kills and two blocks in defeat.
Paige West punctuated her varsity career with seven kills to equal teammate Eden Robart, and Layla Juliette sent down five more for the third-seeded Lady Trojans.
Abree Zipprich compiled 26 assists, 13 digs, four blocks, four kills and 12 points for Valle Catholic. Ava Bauman chipped in five kills plus four blocks.
Addi Donze handled most of the passing duties for the Lady Warriors with 40 serve receptions, and brought up 19 digs at libero.
***Ste. Genevieve Herald Sports Editor Michael Boyd Jr. contributed to this story***