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SJO volleyball falls in close battle

Payton Vallee takes a swing at a set during St. Joseph-Ogden's home volleyball game against St. Thomas More. The Spartans fell 2-0 to visiting Sabers.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

St. Joseph, IL -- SJO junior Kennedi Burnett had 13 kills and teammate Payton Vallee added another 10, but it was not enough to rally past visiting St. Thomas More on Monday.

The St. Joseph-Ogden volleyball team led 10-7 in the first set before the Sabers chipped away at the lead with three unanswered points to knot the contest at 10-all. Both sides battled with cautious fury keeping any chance for a definitive momentum swing to favor either team until STM tallied another three-point run to go up 18-14.

The deficit against the seasoned St. Thomas More line-up was too much to make up leading the Spartan to fall in a close, but frustrating 25-22 finish.

In set two, the Spartans trailed 5-2 early on but fought back feverishly to tie the score at 7s. From there SJO took control of the set building a five-point lead and carrying it for the next eight scores.

At 18-13, Lady Luck step in and a huge shift in momentum favored the Sabers as they rallied back to tie the game at 20-all. St. Joseph-Ogden would muster just two more points to their opponent's five losing the second set by three also at 25-22.

With just five matches left in the pandemic shortened season to play over the next 10 days, the two-set loss doesn't tarnish the Spartans' impressive 12-3 season so far.

Hannah Fox led the Spartans with 16 digs while Burnett and Vallee, a senior, chipped in nine and six more, respectively.

Rebecca Steinbach was credited with 22 assists along 10 digs of her own.

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