On Saturday, the culmination of a historical season came to an end for the All Saints Academy Lady Saints volleyball team from Breese, IL as they captured the Southern Illinois Junior High School Athletic Association Class S State Championship. The Lady Saints entered the SIJHSAA State Championship with a 27-0 record, not having dropped a set all season. After easily disposing of first round opponent Jasper-Geff, they moved on to their toughest opponent all season, a 27-1 St. Bruno team from Pinckneyville, IL. All Saints came out strong just have they done in their previous 28 wins easily taking the first set from St. Bruno 25-7. Then, the defense of St. Bruno showed up, seemingly digging and passing everything the Saints threw at them eventually handing the Saints their first set loss of the season 25-19. Overwhelmed with a feeling they haven’t known in over two years, the Saints team dug deep to persevere. H2 STL 15 Black Libero and ASA outside Emily Johnston stepped to the serve line at 12-10 and lasered two aces and an out of system to take the 3rd set 15-10. The win pitted the Saints against county rival Albers-Damiansville which had fallen to the Lady Saints three times already this season all by sweeping two set matches. Maybe showing some fatigue from the St. Bruno match, the Saints suffered their second set loss of the season as Albers took the 1st set 25-21. The Saints were undeterred by the crowd roar from the Albers following. The Lady Saints, already knowing the taste of a set loss and what it takes to bounce back, left no doubt that Albers was no match for the Lady Saints when they hit full stride as they took the 2nd set 25-15. Enter the 3rd set as the Saints jumped out to a quick lead and never looking back and finishing with a thunder kill off the double block by H2 STL 15 Black and ASA outside hitter Tori Mohesky to a finish 15-9. On to the State Final match against Altamont Lutheran. The Saints, after a brief 15-minute rest, had to fight against an undersized, but very scrappy Altamont team taking the 1st set 25-22. The wear and tear of the previous two 3-set matches may have taken a toll as the Saints dropped the 2nd set 25-20. Going into the 3rd set, you could see the Lady Saints eyes saying, “not today.” With the coin toss serve, they went out on a run starting with H2 STL 15 Black and ASA setter Anna Richter getting the first five points. After a side out, H2 STL 15 Black and ASA outside hitter Tori Mohesky lined up the next four serve points. One more side out later and H2 STL 15 Black and ASA middle hitter Riley Kleber came to the line to serve out the finals points taking the State clinching set 15-3. Along with approximately 300 family, friends and student body to make the trip to Herrin, IL to support All Saints, their sisters of H2 STL 15 Black joined in the mix sporting their team red. H2 STL 15 Black Head Coach Chuck Roy, middle hitter Kenadi Barriger, outside hitter Hailey Cortinas and right sides Cami Marteeny and Myah Helmkamp came in strong to back up their H2 teammates and H2 STL 15 Black and ASA Assistant Coach Jenna Ratermann. It was the first time in the All Saints Academy history that the volleyball program finished the season 31-0 as State Champions. What may be even more astounding, is that the All Saints volleyball program is the first in Illinois State Athletics history to earn State titles in the same sport in all three class levels having already earned volleyball State titles in the past for Large and Medium schools. Congratulations to Coach Jen Jasper, the rest of the All Saints Academy Lady Saints, family, friends and school faculty of All Saints! Great job ladies, Coach Jenna and I are very proud of you!