Olivia DeJesus and the Sacred Heart girls volleyball team took care of unfinished business Tuesday night.
“It’s such a surreal feeling,” said DeJesus, who had 28 kills and earned Most Valuable Player honors as No. 2 Sacred Heart defeated No. 1 St. Anthony’s in the CHSAA girls volleyball final, 21-25, 25-13, 25-18, 25-18. The win marked Sacred Heart’s first league title since 2007. “I’m just so full of emotion to do this in my senior year.”
“Our motto for the season was unfinished business,” said Sacred Heart coach Emily Butler, whose Spartans fell short in the 2017 final. “That was fuel throughout the whole season. Together as a group of 20 I felt we worked hard in practice and did all the little things.”
Sacred Heart advances to the state tournament Saturday in Buffalo.
St. Anthony’s took the opening set, 25-21, in a wild back-and-forth, but Sacred Heart responded loudly behind DeJesus. The Spartans answered back in the second set with a 25-13 response as DeJesus began to take control with a flurry of kills.
DeJesus continued to assert her dominance moving forward, controlling the front line for Sacred Heart.
“As soon as the third set was over we all had the mentality that we had to take over,” DeJesus said.
Outside hitter Carlea Mirante sealed the third set and a 2-1 lead for the Spartans with a powerful kill.
Emily Barry, who was named CHSAA Player of the Year following the victory, finished with 10 kills. “I was kind of surprised,” Barry said. “There are a ton of other players, especially Olivia and Riley \[Leimbach\]. Everyone played such a big part. I don’t think it was just one person.”
Kayla Martello’s serve was hit out of bounds for the final point of the fourth set to secure the elusive title for Sacred Heart.
“I’m just very excited to have as great of a team as I have,” said Leimbach, the setter who came away with 40 assists. “We’ve been working so hard since last year to get to this moment and we deserve it so much to get to this moment together.