The defending Class 1 Missouri volleyball champions, Santa Fe, used a late run in set one and beat the Lady Gremlins by 10 in set three to deliver Sacred Heart its second loss of the season, 23-25, 25-21, 15-25.
Sacred Heart led the entire first set, and the Chiefs would not lead until a 24-23 during a set-closing 7-1 run.
In the second set, the Lady Gremlins led 11-6 and 19-14, forcing Santa Fe timeouts after each point.
Head coach David Fall said the first two sets were similarly close.
“I thought we worked hard,” Fall said. “A few touches here and there, and it could have gone either way.”
Hannah Wilhoit led Sacred Heart with 12 kills, and had four blocks and five digs. Anna Callis had nine kills and three digs. Zoe Volcko had six kills. At setter, Annalise Megen posted 26 assists.
Fall called timeout after Santa Fe climbed to an 11-6 lead in set three. The Lady Gremlins labored in attempts to return the Santa Fe serve. Sacred Heart was all but buried after an 8-2 run put the Chiefs one point away from match victory.
“We struggled to get that first ball up,” Fall said. “I thought when we did get that first ball up to our setter, we were able to have some success. But we struggled to get that first ball up, whether it was their attack or their serve.”
Sacred Heart was placed in Class 1, District 11 for the 2016 season, and may face Santa Fe in the playoffs en route to a state tournament.
For now, the Lady Gremlins have a Springfield Tournament facing Waynesville, Central (Springfield), Willard and Camdenton to prepare for. The tournament begins Saturday.
“I’m looking that we go in there and have a great tournament,” Fall said. “We’ll be tested. We’ll have teams that are big and play fast, and that kind of suits the same model (as Santa Fe).”
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2