Bigger pounds 6 aces against BCC, Burnett lights up the floor with double-double

Payton Vallee goes up for a block
SJO's Payton Vallee goes up to block a kill attempt by Bloomington Central Catholic's Kate Moorman-Wolfe. Vallee had five kills against the Saints. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
A one-two combination comprised of Emily Bigger's serves and Kennedi Burnett's thunderous spikes was too much for the visiting Central Catholic (4-19 overall) volleyball team to handle. Thanks to the duo, the Spartan offense rolled to a 2-0 sweep over the Saints on Wednesday.

SJO dominated the opening set from the get-go. After dropping the first point, Bigger & Co. rattled of the nine unanswered points to take a 9-1 lead. It was a hole too deep for Central Catholic to recover from with the Spartan's hitters keeping the deficit at seven points or more the remainder of the set.

Up by 11 at 21-10, BCC would score one more point before the senior dominated squad closed out a brilliantly played set, 25-11.

The Spartans meticulously built a six-point lead after the first 14 points of the second set to go up, 10-4. The Saints, playing a much better defensive game, closed the gap to 11-8 and got within three points again at 12-9 before SJO's offense reignited.

After two unanswered points followed by a five-point run and then six unanswered points, SJO took commanding lead at 23-11. Three serves later the match was over ending the final set, 25-12.

Kennedi Burnett hits a down the line kill against BCC
Kennedi Burnett hits the ball down-the-line for one of her 10 kills. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

"I thought we played one of the best matches we've played all season," said head coach Abby McDonald, now three victories away from hitting the 300-win milestone. "They really embraced the changes we made this week and rose to the challenge."

Completely in the zone, Burnett collected a double-double with ten kills and ten digs. The senior also booked two of the team's four blocks. Classmate Katelyn Berry, hitting .467 for the evening, contributed eight kills and four digs to the cause.

Then there was Bigger. Outdoing her four-ace performance against Rantoul earlier in the week, she added another six to her career stats. The senior also had three digs and smashed a pair of kills on Saints.

Rounding out the total team effort, Payton Vallee was credited with five of the team's 31 kills in the conference win to help the Spartans pick up their 18th win of the season. Rylee Stahl, Kenly Taylor and Lacey Kaiser with three kills, each had five digs apiece.

St. Joseph-Ogden High School 2024 baseball seniors