ALTON - St. Mary’s Catholic Middle School boys volleyball team recently captured first place in the Southern Conference Tournament for its Diocese Catholic Schools.

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St. Mary’s defeated St. John Neumann Catholic School for the title. The score was 24-26, 27-25 and 15-6.

St. Mary’s head coach John Bogard said the boys were a special group loaded with athleticism. He said when the team started practice, they had to learn the game and soon, because of the athletic skills they quickly learned the fundamentals.

St. John Neumann was the top team in St. Mary’s conference, so this win meant a lot to Coach Bogard.

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“St. Mary’s in Edwardsville and St. Boniface both have outstanding coaches and teams,” Bogard said. “We are all really competitive and had some tight games. We have a number of servers on our team and they all had a great night serving against St. John Neumann.”

One of the stars of the championship match was seventh-grader Nicholas Trefny. “He had the most consistent serves in the championship,” Bogard said. “Nicholas served about six or seven in a row for points. Rolen Eveans, a seventh-grader, is also a spectacular athlete. He has been primarily our setter. Adam Vowels also has been nailing serves all season.”

The talented team included Trefny, Evans, Vowels, Ethan Eddy, Braden Coles, Dalton Johnson, Addison Thomeczek, Preston Stork, Christian Maag and Nolan Graves.

“The boys have potential in any sport,” Coach Bogard said. “They play well on and off the court. They are all so team-oriented. Part of their success is they don’t feel anyone has to be a hero.”

St. Mary’s had both a seventh and eighth grade and fifth and sixth-grade team this year because they had so many players on the squad.

“I am very proud of them,” Coach Bogard said. “They work together and don’t miss opportunities because they put themselves in a winning position.”

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