In a year that was in no short supply of near-misses for the St. Louis Community College volleyball team, STLCC saw its season come to a close when the team came up short Friday in a three-set loss to Cottey College in the first round of the Region XVI Tournament.
The Archers dropped Friday’s match 19-25, 22-25 and 16-25.
With a roster that was short on experience and long on youth at the beginning of the year, STLCC played its best volleyball of the year in October, including a 4-2 stretch just before the conclusion of the regular season.
Head coach Johnna Kinney had high praise for her team, particularly the sophomore contingent, as the team made major strides in the second half of the season.
“They kept a lot close and we were just right there in so many of them,” Kinney said. “The character of the team was really good, because they never let down and kept fighting and progressing. They kept fighting in all the matches.”
Sophomores Jada Oliver (Lutheran North), Meghan Buerk (Lindbergh), Kelly Hart (North County Christian) and Carrie Latimore (McCluer North) all served as starters this year, and provided leadership for a youthful Archers program. Kinney is quick to credit that group not only for their on-court performance, but also for setting a positive example and setting the program up for future success.
“We had a pregame talk about where we were last year compared to where we are now, and the difference has been (incredible),” Kinney said.
Kinney also expects to return the majority of her freshmen for the 2013 season, and sees this year’s late-season success as placing the program on a positive path for next fall.