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Volleyball: Miners fend off Cougars for Div. I North crown

1:00 AM, Nov. 04, 2012 EDT

Spanish Springs' Gabrielle Szachara spikes the ball over Manogue defenders Kololia Atoa and Kelsie Hill during Saturday's Division I North regional championship game at Spanish Springs. / Tom Smedes/Special to RGJ

Aside from an early hiccup, Bishop Manogue was unstoppable.

Manogue defeated Spanish Springs, 23-25, 25-11, 25-10 and 25-19, to win the Division I North regional title Saturday at Spanish Springs.

Shannon Sullivan had 11 kills for the Miners, and Kelsie Hill added 10 kills along with 12 digs. Koko Atoa had six kills and an astounding 21 digs.

Manogue's Morgan Carlson had eight kills, and Shyla Luckadoo had three blocks.

Hannah Smith had 34 assists and seven aces as the Miners were deadly with their serving Saturday.

"We knew this was our shot. We knew we worked so hard, and I think it was good we lost the first game, it really motivated us," Hill said.

Manogue coach Jason Sterrett said he changed the game plan, which led to the first-game loss. Then, he went with the Miners' usual lineup and everything went their way.

"I tried some new things, and it was a little too much energy. Once we slowed things down and we all took a deep breath, we were fine," Sterrett said. "People who work hard get the big breaks. Luck is good."

Atoa said controlling their energy and eliminating mistakes led to the Miners' turnaround.

"We were really tense and we were overthinking things," Atoa said. "Once we settled down, we were able to finish the game we wanted to. That is the game we've played the best all season."

Both Bishop Manogue and Spanish Springs earned berths in the Div. I state tournament, which starts Friday at Galena.

Mellie Munley led the Cougars with 12 kills, and Rachel Loadholt added nine. Brandi Brucato had 13 digs.

It was the second time this season the Miners beat the Cougars.

"Spanish Springs is such a great team. I just think it was our night," Sterrett said.

Manogue won state four years ago but has not been back since.

"We're going to keep working, staying together as a team and making sure we do what we need to do, worry about ourselves and not over-anticipate the other team," Atoa said. "If we play like this, nothing can stop us."

Spanish Springs coach Frank Sandomenico said the Cougars learned a lot, lessons the team can take into the state tournament.

"We definitely need to clean up some things, there's some things we can be better at," Sandomenico said. "It's all three phases; it's mental, physical and tactical stuff we can do."




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