Spalding stops Seton Keough Cavaliers win title in Catholic League


The Archbishop Spalding volleyball team served up a championship yesterday.

Spalding used good serves to reel off several timely streaks and score a 16-14, 14-16, 15-1, 15-8 victory over host Seton Keough in the title game of the Catholic League Tournament.

Mercy (9-5) defeated Catholic (6-12), 15-13, 15-4, 9-15, 15-12, in the consolation match. Gayle Belz led Mercy with 13 kills.

The Cavaliers scored at least five points in a row five times. Three of those streaks sealed the victories for Spalding (11-2).

The first streak may have been the biggest. Trailing 14-10 in the first game, Kelly Stevenson (11 points serving) served six points in a row to give the Cavaliers a come-from-behind victory. Spalding was down 10-3 at one point.

"That was very important," said Spalding coach Linda Millford-Taylor. "That gave them a lot of hope and confidence."

Amy Langville (team-high 15 points serving) served five straight to give Spalding a 14-13 lead -- again following a rally from a 10-3 deficit -- in Game 2. Katie Loovis served three straight to give Seton Keough (12-4), the regular-season champion, the win.

Kelly Mabe (13 points serving) opened Game 3 with seven consecutive points. Gina Fidazzo closed out the rout with five in a row.

The fourth game stayed close. Loovis served three in a row to give the Gators an 8-7 lead.

Spalding struck one final time. Sarah Jerzyk tied the game with an ace. She went on to serve eight straight to give the Cavaliers the game and the match.

Seton Keough did not do as well with its serve. Serving problems caused the Gators to miss chances at two victories.

"Serves killed us," said Seton Keough coach Karen Janney. "When it came down to it, we couldn't put it away."

Langville served well and was a big reason the Cavaliers put Seton Keough away. She finished with 34 attacks and 11 kills. Three kills came in the final game.

"We have a lot of good servers," said Langville, the Catholic League's Player of the Year. "Once we get a string going, we have the confidence that we can beat anyone."

Langville and Carrie Parsons (36 attacks, nine kills) helped Spalding dominate play at the net. Parsons had a strong match setting for her teammates and made several timely dinks.

"Carrie was extremely strong at the net," said Millford-Taylor.

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