Volleyball: St. Michael sweeps past Tara

Led by eight seniors, the volleyball team for St. Michael the Archangel is off to another fast start in district action.

St. Michael defeated Tara 3-0 Thursday night at Tara to improve to 9-4 and 2-0 in Division 2, District 4.

Tara dropped to 1-12 and 0-1.

St. Michael won the contests 25-12, 25-10 and 25-13.

While not an overpowering at the net, the Warriors are crafty.

“We don’t have that big devastating hitter,” St. Michael coach Rob Smith said. “We teach the girls to play smart and not force things. We want to keep the ball in play and let the other team make a mistake.”

Kayleigh Sticker, Hanna Blanchard (two aces, six digs), Annabelle Harter, Christie Slay (3 kills, 3 aces), Kasey Fraser (five kills, one block), Sydney Broussard, Madison Fakouri (six digs) and Breanna Porter are the eight St. Michael seniors.

“Our seniors are really good leaders,” Smith said. “We’re such a close team. We play hard for each other all the time. We have good chemistry.”

Smith said he was encouraged by St. Michael’s 3-1 record in last weekend’s Episcopal Tournament.

“We played our best match of the season against McKinley,” he said. “We’re better than we were three weeks ago. I think we’ll continue to improve.”

Others in the mix for St. Michael are junior outside hitter Madeleine Gremillion (four kills, four aces) and sophomore setter Taylor Heck (17 assists, three aces).

Gremillion missed last season with a leg injury but has returned stronger than before.

“Our setter Heck is improving,” Smith said. “Our senior middle Kasey Fraser does a good job of working behind our set and is a real good blocker.”

Tara coach Barry Jackson said his team came into the season inexperienced, but is getting better. Senior Raven Maxwell (seven kills), senior Ayanna Stemmons (four blocks) and junior setter Ke’erra Johnson (10 assists, three digs) led the Trojans.

“Raven Maxwell is an athletic girl with good arm stroke,” Jackson said. “The girls work so hard. They give great effort. We struggle with consistency.

“Tonight our best game came in the first game. If we can start playing with confidence, I think we can compete in district.”

In the third game, Tara rallied to pull within 13-8. The Warriors led 18-10 before Tara scored two straight points. Junior Whitney Hartmann scored on a tip to start St. Michael’s 7-1 run to close out the game.

Sophomore Lauren Goff had two aces in that run.