It’s not often the Assumption High School volleyball team – winner of a record 18 state titles – gets to play the redemption angle, but it’s working for the Rockets this season.
Motivated by a three-set loss to Sacred Heart in last year’s Seventh Region Tournament semifinals, Assumption found its stride late this season and is headed back to the state tournament.
Brooke Moore had 13 kills and Jacqueline Askin added 11 as the Rockets beat Sacred Heart 25-19, 25-21, 25-22 in Thursday’s Seventh Region final at Valley.
“Last year felt like the worst thing ever,” Askin said. “Now it’s kind of like revenge.”
GALLERY | Assumption beats Sacred Heart for region title
Rockets coach Ron Kordes said his team spent much of the first weeks of this season trying to get over last year’s loss in the regional tournament. The early-season struggles included a pair of losses to Sacred Heart.
“Last year we played this match, and we were never in it,” he said. “It’s been on our minds, particularly the seniors. I think we were trying to be too good too quick and wanting to redeem ourselves. You have to be patient and let the game play.”
Assumption (32-7) – No. 1 in the Kentucky Volleyball Coaches Association’s Top 25 – will face First Region champion and No. 18-ranked McCracken County at 3:30 p.m. next Friday in the first round of the state tournament at Valley.
Paige Hammons had 10 kills to lead No. 2 Sacred Heart, which finished 33-7.
“I felt like if we could have got the lead at some point and put a little pressure on them, it might have been different,” Valkyries coach Eric Garvey said. “But we never quite could get there. We had a couple of runs and cut it close, but we couldn’t bust it open.”
Anna Zwiebel’s kill gave the Valkyries a 16-13 lead in the first set, but Moore and sophomore Kayla Kaiser brought the Rockets back.
Moore had three kills and a block and Kaiser had two of her match-high four aces during a 10-2 run that gave Assumption a 23-18 lead. Anna Palmer’s kill made it 24-19, and a Sacred Heart attack error finished the set.
Kaiser’s four aces highlighted an Assumption service attack that kept Sacred Heart on its heels much of the match.
“We never got comfortable out there, especially on service,” Garvey said. “They served us tough, and we were playing defensive on those volleys. We couldn’t get in our system and be the aggressor. … They definitely controlled that first contact better than us.”
Sacred Heart still led 19-17 before kills by Kaiser and Palmer and a block by Kaiser gave Assumption a 20-19 lead. Kaelin Gentile’s kill tied it at 21, but the Rockets scored the final four points – including an ace by Kaiser – to take it.
Assumption never trailed in the third set, leading 14-7 before six straight Sacred Heart points made it 14-13. Kara Shacklette had three kills during a 4-0 lead that made it 18-13 and her kill provided the final point of the match, sparking an Assumption celebration.
* All-tournament team: Allie Gregory, Shelby Olsen, Brooke Moore, Jacqueline Askin (Assumption); Lauryn Bennett, Paige Hammons, Anna Zwiebel (Sacred Heart); Jalen Story, Savannah Moss (Presentation); Caroline Rassenfoss, Katie Amin (Christian Academy); Emily Porta (Manual); Alyssa McCormick (Atherton); Lexie Gatewood (Male); Sydney Calhoun (Eastern).