The Joseph Charter School Eagles didn’t come home from the 1A state volleyball championships empty-handed in Redmond on Nov. 3. The ladies returned with a third-place trophy, the first time in history the team has placed at the state level. As an added bonus the lady Eagles knocked the top-ranked team in the state off their perch in the first match held in Redmond on Nov.3.
The eighth-ranked Eagles only took three sets to lay waste to top-ranked North Douglas in the quarterfinals, 25-22, 25-21, 25-17 in a 1:15 p.m. match.
“I could tell going into the first match against North Douglas that the girls were really focused in,” said coach Jill Hite.
Sophomore star Emma Hite was instrumental in the win with a whopping 17 kills, a block and two assists. Senior Alexis Sykora was close behind with 11 kills, a block and three assists.
Sabrina Albee tallied four kills, three aces and a helpful 18 assists while Tori Suto offered two serving aces and a pair of assists.
“The girls came out very aggressive with both serving and hitting. There was a small window where they began tipping but they were able to regroup and hit the open spots on the floor,” Coach Hite said.
The 8:30 faceoff saw a different match. Though the Eagles fought hard, they went down in defeat to eventual second-place team Hosanna Christian in three sets: 26-24, 25-20, 25-16.
“After putting so much emotional energy out against North Douglas, I felt the girls didn’t have much left to give. We just couldn’t gain any momentum,” Coach Hite said.
Emma Hite led again led the effort with 11 kills, two aces, and three assists with Sykora stayed close behind with 10 kills, three blocks and four assists. Albee donated five kills 2 digs and13 assists to the Eagles cause. Suto added two aces.
The Eagles came roaring back in the fight for third place, trouncing third-ranked Crosshill Christian in three sets with scores of 25-23, 25-18, 25-19.
“In this match the girls were back with their aggressive style of volleyball. They were confident and had great energy,” said coach Jill Hite.
In her final high school match Sykora led the way with 11 kills, 2 blocks and five assists while Emma Hite collected nine kills, three blocks, an ace and a half-dozen assists. Albee notched nine kills a pair of aces and12 assists and Annie Story knocked out three aces for the Eagles.
“This is one exceptional group of girls with the will to win and be a team. They are willing to take chances and do what it takes. It has been an incredible honor to coach them,” coach Hite said.
As an added bonus, two lady Eagles were selected for top honors for their tournament play: Emma Hite earned first-team state tournament team and Alexis Sykora earned second-team honors.