Stewardson Trinity Claims State Title

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Published on November 5 2013 11:46 am
Last Updated on November 5 2013 11:46 am
Written by Millie Lange

Members of the Stewardson Trinity volleyball team are, first row, left to right, Jocelyn Schultz, Martina Gratz, Claire Moomaw, Anna Schlechte, Jessey McCoy and Kelsey Beitz. Second row, left to right, Manager Erin Moomaw, Calla Roney, Megan Schlechte, Rachel Kessler and Coach Ronda Schlechte. Not pictured were Assistant Jamie Brown and Mariah Caudill.

Stewardson Trinity Cardinals traveled to Springfield November 1-3 to compete in the 26th Annual Lutheran Sports Association’s State Volleyball Tournament.  Who would have thought a school of just 51 could compete in this 24 team tournament let alone bring home the championship banner, two All-State players (both seventh-graders), and the MVP of the Tournament.

The team known as ‘Little Red’ because of their size, has the determination and courage to overpower teams that tower over them not only in size but age. Trinity's starters are made up of one eighth-grader, three seventh-graders, one sixth-grader and one fifth-grader.  

The Cardinal’s started off the tournament Friday defeating Bethel, Morton (25-17, 25-19), Pilgrim, Chicago (25-7, 25-8), and Immanuel, Freeport (25-18, 25-13) to get 1st in Pool Play advancing them to the top 8.

In quarterfinals, Trinity fought past Immanuel, East Dundee in three sets (21-25, 25-14, 25-15) where Calla Roney led with 20 kills followed closely by Megan Schlechte with 18 kills and 27 digs.  Jocelyn Schultz dished out 33 assists between the two.

Moving on to the semifinals, the Cardinals were paired up with Christ, Peoria who recently had taken third pace over Trinity at the Christ, Peoria Tournament in early October.

“Christ has defeated us multiple times in the last several years so this win was huge for us.” said Coach Ronda Schlechte.

Trinity came out on top of an intense three set match (12-25, 25-15, 25-21).

“The girls really had to fight hard for this one," continued Schlechte. "Playing smart volleyball does pay off and that is one thing the girls have. It is taught at a young age and they use it against the bigger teams. This actually felt like the championship win – it was that tough. Megan led with an amazing 24 kills and the digs were spread across the team.  Everyone was involved with this win."

The championship match, held Sunday, was against Zion, Belleville who had also beat Trinity in the Peoria Tournament. The Cardinal’s went three sets in another nailbiter match (25-14, 19-25, 25-18). Trinity easily took game one but then was down 13-5 early in game two before they started catching some breaks but it was too late. Trinity led the third game the entire game except for a brief moment when Zion tied at point nine.  The Cardinal’s took off on a roll and Belleville couldn’t catch up.

"Megan led with 23 kills and six aces while Calla led with 17 digs and Jocelyn with 32 assists," said Schlechte. "Once again, the digs were spread out with Megan 15, Jocelyn 7, Anna Schlechte 6, Martina Gratz 10, and Kelsey Beitz 9.  You look at our team playing and you see my seventh-graders doing the bulk of everything. But it takes all six players to win a match.  We strategize with getting the ball to my two hitters, Calla and Megan, but it doesn’t always fall into place and the rest of the team has to be ready. They all did what they needed to do and I am so proud of all of them.”

Calla Roney and Megan Schlechte made the 10 player All State Team along with Schlechte receiving the MVP award.

“As seventh-graders this is awesome," said Schlechte. "A seventh-grader taking the MVP award at an eighth-grade state tournament is something to be very proud of and to remember for years to come. We've had a handful of girls make the All State Team in the past. They are Joni Giertz and Megan Jack in 2001, Kendall Knop in 2009 and 2010 and Becca Schlechte in 2012. This is quite an honor. This is also the first time for Trinity to call themselves the LSA State champions.  In 2012 we got second place and in 2001 we placed third."

Trinity Lutheran State Tournament Statistics

Kelsey Beitz, 36 pts, 9 aces, 3 kills, 23 digs; Megan Schlechte, 63 points, 18 aces, 88 kills, 65 digs, 8 assists, 4 blocks; Calla Roney, 86 points, 29 aces, 62 kills, 61 digs, 6 assists; Jocelyn Schultz, 66 pts, 13 aces, 3 kills, 25 digs, 141 assists; Martina Gratz, 63 pts, 6 aces, 1 kill, 27 digs, 1 assist; Anna Schlechte, 37 pts, 4 aces, 1 kill, 28 digs; Rachel Kessler, 1 pt, 1 kill; Claire Moomaw, 1 kill