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St. Mary's talks up title Lancers earn three-peat

By the time the match ended Allyson Severyn had lost her voice, but that was only because her performance on the court spoke volumes.

The junior outside hitter talked as good a game as she played Monday night, leading St. Mary's to a win over Nardin in the championship of the Monsignor Martin Association girls volleyball playoffs.

The Lancers needed four games to dispose of their league rival as an estimated 325 looked on in the St. Mary's Fieldhouse. Severyn delivered at key times as the Lancers held on, 25-15, 26-24, 22-25, 25-23. Two of her 21 kills came on points 24 and 25 in the fourth. She also had 17 digs and three aces.

"We just need to talk and to stay together as a team," said a hoarse Severyn, named league MVP in a post-match ceremony. "We definitely know most of their players and we try to take out their key players and isolate them and try to shut them down."

The playoff title was the third in a row for St. Mary's and the first for coach Don Pieczynski.

"Hats off to Nardin's defense -- we ripped a lot of balls at them, and they dug some balls," he said. "Severyn is a dynamo of a player. I thought our sophomore middle [hitter Jessica Warner] played well blocking
the ball and our setter [Elyse Texido] was unflappable."

St. Mary's (20-2), Nardin (11-5) and Sacred Heart (11-3), winner of the consolation match, advanced to this weekend's state Catholic Championship at York College in Jamaica.

Severyn got help at the net from Warner, who had nine kills and three blocks. Sarah Zureck had 17 digs and Texido was all over the court with 42 assists.

St. Mary's won the first two games and jumped out to a 10-3 lead in the third game of the best-of-five match. At that point St. Mary's student cheering section encouraged Nardin to "warm up the bus," but that request proved premature. The Gators snapped back to win the third game scoring five of the last six points.

"We've been down by two [games] to this team before and gone five with them," said Nardin coach Cara Schnelle. "We figured it was another one of those matches that was going to go five, and we would take it this time. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. This is a tough gym to play in. It's a good rivalry, but we just didn't have it today."

Nardin senior Lois Smith kept her team competitive. The 6-foot-1 outside hitter had 19 kills and 16 digs. Senior Carly Hile added 11 kills and 10 digs.

In the consolation matchup, Sacred Heart earned its second straight trip to the Catholic states with a 25-13, 25-11, 25-20 win over Holy Angels. Sharks coach Chris Jank said his team outplayed, outserved and outhit the Angels.

Seniors Chelsea Dziekan and Kelly Nowaks had 10 kills each. Courtney Conway added nine kills and Paige Schultz had 31 assists.

The Angels ended the season 9-5. They were paced by junior Emily Englert's six kills.


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