Prep volleyball | Saint Stephen's cruises by Out-of-Door Academy to district crown

jdill@bradenton.comOctober 26, 2012 

BRADENTON -- When Shameka Walker scouted the Out-of-Door Academy volleyball team in Tuesday's Class 3A-District 10 semifinal, the Saint Stephen's coach witnessed an improved Thunder squad.

And on Thursday, ODA came out firing against the Falcons.

However, Saint Stephen's had too much for the Thunder in a 25-20, 25-13, 25-17 sweep at Bradenton Christian.

Consequently, the Falcons (22-5) celebrated with the program's second district championship in four years.

"The girls were saying this is what they wanted to go out with, being that we have a big senior class," said Walker, whose team will host Clearwater Calvary Christian in a regional quarterfinal on Oct. 31. ODA will visit Clearwater Central Catholic.

Walker, in her second year at the helm, captured her first district title with a strong senior class.

Melissa Johnson, Tori Biach, Amanda Everhardus, Natalie Marciniak, Gabrielle Woodruff and Talia Barker represent the seasoned senior class.

Only Barker didn't start against ODA (12-9).

"There's so many seniors, and it's like a big family," Johnson said. "... It feels nice to win with my grade. ... We had a hard practice (Wednesday) night for this. We wanted to take it seriously."

In Game 1, ODA battled to within two points at 21-19 before Saint Stephen's revved its engine and pulled away.

From there, the Falcons earned a decisive victory in the second game and pulled away late to polish off the sweep.

"They're an awesome team," ODA coach Craig Wolfe said. "We knew a big, uphill battle with this team. They are just full of talent and very, very well-coached."

Biach had a game-high 24 kills for a second straight match, while also chipping in 12 digs and seven block/assists.

Everhardus (eight kills, 16 digs, two aces), Johnson (16 kills, 21 digs, five aces) and Marciniak (48 assists, six digs) also produced solid efforts to lead the Falcons.

Natalie Buffett (five kills, three aces), Sam Albano (14 digs), Lauren Maxey (seven kills) and Cameron Graham (14 digs) paced the Thunder.

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