The young Saints’ improbable run came to an end Monday night.
The Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach volleyball team lost in four games (16-25, 25-13, 23-25, 18-25) to Cathedral Academy of Charleston in the SCISA Class A state championship match at Wilson Hall in Sumter, ending a playoff stretch that included a run through the loser’s bracket.
The Saints – who had overcome a lack of size and experience to reach the state finals – met their match Monday against the bigger and more experienced Generals.
“Cathedral Academy is a great team,” said Christian Academy coach Alex Sing, whose squad lost to the Generals in the Lower State semifinal round of the double-elimination playoffs. “They were actually a AA team that moved down into A this year. They had a little more experience and a little more height. They were the better team tonight, for sure.”
The Saints put up a fight, though.
After losing the first game, Christian Academy routed the Generals in Game 2. However, Cathedral Academy pulled out a victory in an alternating third game, which proved to be the key.
The Saints hung in with the Generals in the fourth game before Cathedral Academy was able to insert the dagger.
“After losing the first game we came on strong in the second,” Sing said. “The third game went back and forth, but at the end Cathedral pulled out a few points and got the victory. It was one of those neck-and-neck matches the whole way.”
With a team that lost in the opening round of the playoffs a season ago, Sing said he knew the Saints were capable of making a run. How far they would get was the question.
“Yes and no,” he said of whether he was surprised by reaching the state final. “The Saints really represented the Myrtle Beach area well. They’re a scrappy bunch. They’re not really tall and don’t win it on height. They win it on heart.”
The majority of the Saints’ squad returns next year as they made their run with a team that contained six sophomores, a freshman and an eighth-grader.
“We expect next year to be back and hopefully to make it at least as far,” Sing said. “I think the girls left the gym knowing, ‘hey, we can be back here next year.’ ”
Mary Chandler Butler had nine kills, Rebekah Bowers added eight, and Claudia Markley contributed 19 assists for the Saints (17-3).
Contact DAVID WETZEL at 626-0295.