You just hated to see it. It happens all the time, but it doesn’t make it easier to watch. As Dragons fans settled in their seats for Saturday afternoon’s sectional volleyball match pitting Ste. Genevieve against Windsor, most were expecting to see the Dragon team that put away Park Hills Central and Festus on their way to to a district title on Wednesday. Unfortunately, that team was nowhere to be found, and the Windsor Owls took advantage. Taking the Ste. Gen crowd out of the game almost immediately, the Owls used a solid defense to shut down the Dragons, winning 25-13, 25-18, and ending Ste. Genevieve’s season at 14-15-4 after the Dragons had won their fourth straight district title three days earlier.
“I’m not really sure what happened,” senior Megan Schweigert explained. “I didn’t want it to end that way, but we came in with a strong mindset that we wanted it more. But once we got in a hole during the game, we just couldn’t get back up. We came a long way, and I’m still proud of my team!”
And well she should be. Not many expected the Dragons to be in this position as they battled injury, illness, and inconsistent play throughout most of the season. But they got hot when it counted, and defeated DeSoto, Park Hills Central, and Festus to win the district title earlier in the week.
The emotion, intensity, and communication that got them to this position, all of a sudden couldn’t be found Saturday afternoon. A lot of it had to do with a Windsor team that played incredibly well and earned its first Final Four berth after defeating Perryville later in the day. But the Dragons weren’t helping themselves either. “We did not play our best game, and Windsor played very well,” senior Ella Reed admitted. “I am sad it is over, but I’m very proud of how we came together as a team at the end of the season to win another district title.”
Saturday, the Dragons got off to a good start, getting the first point on a Julia McKlin kill. The two teams were tied 3-3, but that was the last time Ste. Genevieve would not be behind the rest of the first set. The Owls would go on a 5-1 run to take a 9-4 lead. After that, it didn’t get much better as Windsor built a seven point lead at 16-9 and forced a Dragons timeout.
The closest Ste. Genevieve would get in the first set would be five points at 13-18. But after taking another timeout down 13-20, Ste. Gen wouldn’t score again as the Owls scored five unanswered points to take the first set by 12 points.
The Windsor crowd was vocal, and the Ste. Gen crowd was trying to keep spirits high, but as the second set began, it was clear Windsor had all the momentum and had no plans of giving it back. The Dragons found themselves down 1-4 before they knew what hit them. To their credit, they battled back to tie it at 4-4, but even that was done on accident. Maci Reynolds had a big save during the rally, and Reed mishit a kill that just happened to find an open spot and fall to the floor. But as in the first set, that would be the last time Ste. Gen would be even. For the entire match, the Dragons held one lead, and were tied just four times.
After taking a timeout down 7-13, Ste. Gen would get no closer than five points when Marysa Flieg scored on a block to make it 15-20. When Windsor got to match point, the Dragons summoned up as much energy as they could to prevent the final point. Windsor served it long on the first match point, and then Abby Moore and Flieg combined on a block on the second match point. On the third match point, Flieg had a kill, but when Reynolds’ kill went long on the fourth match point, the Dragons’ season came to a close as they lost the second set, 18-25.
“I didn’t think the game would go the way it did today,” McKlin said after the match. “I expected to see more drive from everyone on the court, and that drive to win just wasn’t there. Simple volleyball things were being left out, as well as calling lines and playing smart. A good team needs to be able to communicate in order to win games.”
Reed finished her career with five kills in the match to go along with one block. Flieg also had five kills and two blocks, while Moore contributed three kills and two blocks. McKlin, playing in her last match, had two kills and one block, and Brittney Kreitler dished out 13 assists.
Kreitler said it’s hard to see the four seniors (Jaida Greminger, McKlin, Reed, and Schweigert) leave the program. “They will for sure be greatly missed, and they definitely knew how to be great leaders,” she said. “They knew how to bring us together and play as a team, as well as having fun while doing it.”
Congratulations Dragons on another district title. It was an exciting ride.