ALTON - The St. Mary's Middle School Chargers finished a remarkable girls' volleyball season recently.

The Chargers were undefeated in the Southern Conference Championship, going 9-0 in the conference. Their overall record was 22-4.

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In the Southern Conference Tournament, they won against St. Elizabeth school in 2 sets to advance. The Chargers then won in 2 sets against St. Paul Highland to advance to the final. The score was 25-19 and 25-20 in the game against St. Boniface for the tournament trophy and banner.

The Chargers have won the conference championship, the conference tournament, or both every year since 2019, with the exception of 2021 when those activities were not held due to the pandemic.

On Friday, March 17, The Chargers played in their first-ever Regional tournament of the Southern Illinois Junior High School Athletic Association (SIJHSAA). The tournament was held at Father McGivney High School.

St. Rose Elementary School won the first round against St. Mary’s Edwardsville, 25-16 and 25-18. St. Mary’s Alton then beat St. Rose 25-11 and 25-9 to advance to the final. Albers-Damiansville Co-op won its semi-final game against St. Boniface with scores of 25-12 and 25-19.

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The final between St. Mary’s Alton and Albers-Damiansville was a very close and competitive match. Albers-Damiansville prevailed in 3 sets with scores of 25-12, 22-25, and 15-13.

Assistant Coach Hamilton remarked, “that was one of the most competitive eighth-grade volleyball games I have seen in 11 years of coaching. Both teams struggled to get points off their serve. The team with the most attacks when receiving prevailed in the game. A couple of balls bouncing, either way, decided the outcome."

Albers-Damiansville will compete in the State final at Herrin High School on March 25.

“This has been a memorable season for St. Chargers volleyball," Phil Hamilton, one of the St. Mary's coaches, said. "With 17 players, we had outstanding depth which set us apart from our conference opponents. All players are great athletes and they all contributed to a successful season. Many of the players hope to continue their volleyball careers at Marquette Catholic High School, Alton High School, and Father McGivney. Coach Jill Woodward continues the winning volleyball tradition at St. Mary’s.”

The St. Mary's players were Kaylee Piar, defensive specialist; Ellen Anderson outside hitter; Marie Woodward, setter; Katherine Kamp, outside hitter; Mia Lopez, outside hitter; Lexi Taylor, defensive specialist/setter; Reese Bechtold, middle hitter; Izzy Brunaugh, middle hitter; Emma Hough, defensive specialist/outside hitter; Colleen Meisenheimer, defensive specialist; Ella Curry, defensive specialist/libero; Bella Johnson, right side; Morgan Rister, defensive specialist/libero; Alex Stephan, outside hitter; Sarah Moehn, defensive specialist; Ava Hernandez, setter; and, Grace Fischer, setter/defensive specialist.

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