Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Columbia Wins Volleyball Title

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Columbia Wins Volleyball Title

Article excerpt

BELLEVILLE * While Saturday's accomplishment was new for the Columbia volleyball team, the performance was kind of commonplace.

Which means really impressive.

The Eagles beat Nerinx Hall 25-12, 25-19 to win the 19th annual Belleville East Metro Classic title for the first time, wiping away memories the last three seasons of disappointing performances in the event.

Columbia (24-0) swept its opponent for the 22nd consecutive match with an impressive display in virtually every facet.

"They were porbably one of the most solid offense and defensive combinations we've played all season," Nerinx Hall coach Jane Baumgartner said. "Having to work so hard just to earn a point was significantly tougher and way more challenging than a lot of other matches we have played."

The Markers (21-4) were the fourth consecutive Metro Women's Athletic Association victim of the Eagles, who beat Incarnate Word in pool play Friday and then swept past Ursuline and Cor Jesu in Saturday's qualifying matches.

Columbia also had impressive records the last three seasons going into the Metro Classic only to go 0-2 in pool play each time.

But this Eagles roster features attacking options and defensive rocks that were at full force in the title match.

"It's nice having a strong offense," said senior setter Elizabeth Fleming, who had 23 assists. "It makes my job easier."

Five different players contributed to a Columbia attack that had an impressive 30 kills out of 50 points scored, led by 13 from senior outside hitter Colene Hamilton.

But these aren't one-trick Eagles.

When Hamilton had two consecutive hitting errors and a net violation early in the second set as Nerinx Hall pulled into a 5-4 lead, other options presented themselves for Columbia.

"We've got five or six hitters that can absolutely control the game," Columbia coach Kelly Landgraf said. "It's nice. It frees (Hamilton) up. I've heard coaches say, 'We couldn't let your middles go,' but that frees Colene up, too. All around we're a better team when you've got that many offensive weapons."

Senior middle blocker Jordan Hausmann was especially impressive in the second set with all seven of her kills, and senior middle blocker Alyssa Yochum had three of her six kills in the second set. …

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