Stewardson Trinity Wins State Title

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Published on March 31 2014 11:25 am
Last Updated on March 31 2014 11:27 am
Written by Millie Lange

Members of Stewardson Trinity are, frontn row, left to right, Addie Wernsing, Isabelle Gratz, Jasmine Schafer, Ella Kinkelaar, Marisa Daniels and Halle Moomaw, Middle row, left to right, Martina Gratz, Claire Moomaw, Anna Schlechte, Mariah Caudill and Rachel Kessler. Back row, left to right, Coach Ronda Schlechte, Calla Roney, Megan Schlechte, Joceylyn Schultz, Kelsey Beitz and Assistant Coach Jamie Brown.

Stewardson Trinity Cardinals came into the State Tournament with a record of 23-1, losing only to the IESA State champion Hartsburg- Emden, and ended with an outstanding 27-1 record.

The Cardinals traveled to Herrin Saturday to spend the day fighting for the title. Stewardson met up with St. Mark’s Catholic School, Steelville in the first round of the tournament. Trinity breezed to the win 25-15, 25-13 with the help of Kelsey Beitz leading the team with 11 points and Megan Schlechte with 16 kills.

Moving to the Elite Eight, Trinity met St. Peter-Paul Catholic School, Waterloo. Trinity managed to work past them after a slow start and won 25-19, 25-13 making it to the Final Four.  Martina Gratz led the team with 11 points and Calla Roney with 8 kills and 6 digs. 

Lick Creek, Buncombe was the opponent for the semifinals.  With only three girls on the bench, the Trinity Cardinals mentally broke down while starting setter Jocelyn Schults took a break since having the stomach flu the day before.  Sixth-grader, Rachel Kessler took over the setting duties in game one and did a really nice job off the bench.

“Because we are such a young team, changing things just a tad sometimes is enough for us to breakdown.” said Coach Ronda Schlechte. "Jocelyn returned to the game at point 12 while trailing by four. Claire Moomaw also entered the game to help out with defense."

The Cardinals fought back to win the set 25-23 then returned to normal play and easily won the next set 25-11 with the help of Schults putting down five straight aces to start the game and Anna Schlechte pulling up 12 digs.  The Cardinals took the lead and never looked back making it to the championship match.

In the championship match, Stewardson Trinity defeated Desoto 25-16, 25-23 to claim the state title.

"We played well in game one but broke down in game two with seven missed serves and nine hitting errors," said Coach Schlechte. "The girls were just worn out. Being in the gym 10 hours before playing the championship match is enough to make the any team tired. We battled back with Megan Schlechte having her best game of the day. She was able to find some energy to put down 19 kills and pull up 15 digs. Calla Roney also helped out with 11 digs and  five aces.  

"The girls had an unbelievable season after winning the LSA (Lutheran Sports Association) state title in November and now coming home with the SIJHSAA State title.  I thought this might be a building year after losing Becca Schlechte but I was wrong. Becca did the bulk of the hitting for us last year. This year that roll is shared with sister, Megan Schlechte and Calla Roney who are both seventh graders. They have come such a long way in a short time and will only get stronger.

"They have seen a SIJHSAA state title in 2011 and the state runnerup last year. Our team sets big goals and they see them to the end.  Placing third in the Effingham Eighth-Grade Tournament was a huge rush for us. This season we have beat big teams like Mt. Pulaski, Prairieview, Albion, and Decatur Lady of Our Lourdes. We are little but we dream big and I’m so proud of them.  I look at seeing an even stronger team next year since the team is pretty much intact with losing only one eighth-grader this year.”

The Cardinals celebrated Sunday evening with Stewardson’s and Strasburg’s fire trucks parading them through each town followed with a reception.  

Tourney Statistics

Kelsey Beitz, 24 pts, 6 aces, 16 digs, 1 assist; Jocelyn Schultz, 44 pts, 12 aces, 4 digs, 77 assists; Calla Roney, 31 pts, 11 aces, 38 kills, 20 digs, 3 assists; Megan Schlechte, 39 pts, 12 aces, 56 kills, 26 digs, 3 assists; Martina Gratz, 34 pts, 2 aces, 12 digs; Anna Schlechte- 21 pts, 1 kill, 24 digs; Rachel Kessler, 3 pts, 2 aces, 8 assists; Claire Moomaw, 4 pts, 4 digs