Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Photo By Michael Alexander
Senior outside hitter Leah Hardeman (#10) led St. Pius X High School with 26 kills in the Oct. 30 semifinal defeat of Buford High School. In the state finals against Blessed Trinity, Hardeman had 35 kills to help Pius secure its first volleyball championship.


Girls bring St. Pius a school first in volleyball

By MICHAEL ALEXANDER, Staff Photographer | Published November 7, 2013

MARIETTA—It could have been dubbed the “Second Annual Catholic Volleyball Classic,” but in this case Blessed Trinity High School, Roswell, and St. Pius X High School, Atlanta, gathered at Marietta High School for the second consecutive year to vie for the Class AAA state volleyball championship. Blessed Trinity was going for its third championship in four years while St. Pius was making its third consecutive trip to the state finals.

St. Pius advanced to the 2013 finals by defeating Buford High School 3-1 (22-25, 25-17, 25-18, 28-26) in the semifinals on Oct. 30. Following the match, St. Pius head coach John Frederick said, “I told the team I’m tired of hanging runner-up banners in the gym. I want to win a championship this year.”

After being shut out (3-0) by Sandy Creek High School, Tyrone, in 2011 and Blessed Trinity in 2012, the third time was a charm for St. Pius X as they defeated Blessed Trinity 3-1 (25-21, 25-22, 22-25, 25-18) Nov. 2.

Senior outside hitter Leah Hardeman led St. Pius with a game-high 35 kills and junior defensive specialist (libero) Ryan Boykin had 35 digs. Senior Katrina Connolly and junior Molly Gunn, setters on the team, provided 37 and 22 assists, respectively.

“It’s disappointing, but I’m so very proud of how our girls played. It would have been easy to fold up the tent down 2-0, but they never quit,” said Blessed Trinity head coach Paul Stevens.

Blessed Trinity senior outside hitter Molly McAlvany led the team with 18 kills to go along with 18 digs. McAlvany had 598 kills this year, breaking her older sister Jessica’s school record (592) for kills in a season, which stood for seven years. Junior libero Amber MacDonald led the way with 22 digs and two aces, and junior setter Maggie Rick had 23 assists.

It was the first state volleyball championship in school history for St. Pius.

“Sometimes you have great teams and sometimes you have teams that are fun to coach. This team qualified in both fashions. I could not be prouder of how they handled themselves, particularly in the semis and the finals when our season was on the line. They played their best in the biggest games of the year,” said Frederick.

In the Class AAAA finals, Columbus High School defeated Marist School 3-1 (25-17, 25-18, 19-25, 25-14). Marist went undefeated (8-0) in the region this year and finished the season with an overall record of 32-14.