St. John’s finished off powerhouse rival Academy of the Holy Cross 3-0 (25-14, 25-21, 25-19) Sunday night at Catholic University for their first WCAC championship since 2004.
The Tartans had previously given the Cadets a pair of close five-set games, winning the first regular season matchup at home before St. John’s got revenge on Military Road 10 days prior to the championship.
“I’m so glad we could finish this together,” captain Nicole Taylor ‘20 said. “I never would have met these girls if I didn’t play volleyball…we got this great group of girls together and we’re honestly so happy that we could do this together, and I wouldn’t want to do with anyone else.”
Holy Cross was one of only two losses for the Cadets in their entire 30-win regular season, the other from South County High School (VA). The first set was tightly contested, but after a stretch of six straight points set up a Cadet win, they steamrolled through the second set, never trailing by more than 3 until the third set. Even with the Tartans fighting to survive, St. John’s was able to finish the sweep, their third in as many WCAC playoff games.
“Just the fact that we beat Holy Cross twice in one season, and for the championship, it just meant so much for us to really prove that we could do this,” Quincy Waters ‘20 said after the game. “Every team brought something to the table that we didn’t expect before, and for us to beat them and make it to this place was epic, it’s just amazing.”
Maya Boykin ‘20 said, “We’ve worked so hard and we’ve really had blood, sweat, and tears for an entire season…we’ve been the closest we’ve ever been and I love this team, and I’m so proud of them.”
Rachel Richardson ‘21 was named the 2019 WCAC Player of the Year before the game.
“I’ve worked very hard for it. Since freshman year, every single time I get in the gym, my goal is to just go at it and improve as a player. I feel like I owe it to my team to just be the best I can be,” Richardson said.
Taylor and Richardson have been friends for five years. Richardson said, “to share this experience with [Taylor] has been amazing and just absolutely heartwarming and fulfilling. For the rest of those girls, honestly, even though the team is big, these have been some of my best friends that I’ve made in high school. So to share this experience with them is the biggest honor.
Pamela McCune ’23 made an impact in front of the net, and fans noticed, chanting “she’s a freshman” after her points. She said that she was used to smaller crowds when she was in middle school, but thought this Cadets’ crowd helped motivate her. “Having such a big crowd know me and support me through all of this, when I’m literally just coming in for only a few months of school, is amazing. And I really have to thank my team for all of this, because honestly if I didn’t have them, I really wouldn’t get any recognition for it,” McCune said.
The 2019 volleyball season wraps up this week with the DCSAA Tournament. St. John’s enters as the No. 1 seed; they will host the quarterfinals Wednesday, with semifinals and the championship being held at Trinity University Thursday and Friday.