St. Thomas takes region, sets up Martin Co. rematch
November 15, 2011St. Thomas Aquinas High School
With Saturday’s 25-11, 25-12, 25-19 win against Atlantic in the Region 4-7A final, St. Thomas Aquinas will get another opportunity to avenge last year’s regional finals loss to Martin County.
The Eagles (18-4) only led the Raiders (20-5) by one point the entire match, when Atlantic went up 4-3 in the third set. St. Thomas dominated the rest of the way.
Atlantic played with a greater sense of urgency in the third game, keeping the score close at 17-15, but St. Thomas pulled away for the win after an ace by Ana Pedraza.
The Raiders were led by Brooke Lyons and Allison Bellanger, who both notched eight kills and two blocks apiece. Nikki Lyons added seven kills, and Mackenzie Zielinski’s crisp setting helped St. Thomas’ front line dominate the Eagles. Zielinski finished the match with 29 assists.
St. Thomas’ size seemed to cause problems for Atlantic’s front line, but coach Lisa Zielinski didn’t see it as a mismatch.
“I don’t think we had that much of an advantage up front,” Zielinski said. “I thought we were bigger in the middle and that seemed to make a difference.”
• Region 3-8A final: Facing one of the state’s top teams in Wellington, Douglas fell in straight sets 26-24, 25-8, 25-14.
The pace in the first set was back-and-forth, as neither team held a lead larger than two points. At one point, the Eagles held an 18-15 lead over Wellington, but the Wolverines went on a 5-2 run to tie the set at 20-20. The set would be tied at 24-24 when the Eagles had difficultly with ball control and Wellington (24-1) took advantage, closing out the set with the 26-24 win.
Top performers for Douglas were senior Amy Davis, who finished the match with nine kills, Kirsten Kuhl with 22 assists and five kills and Brittany Sauls with six kills and six digs.