This volleyball season has been filled with hard knocks for Stephanie Chen.
The senior setter/hitter and middle blocker who plays on the Snowden girls’ volleyball team with her twin sisters Emily and Elaine, played her last varsity game on Monday night as Saint Clement defeated the Cougars 3-0 in the quarterfinals of the Division 3 North state tournament.
Last week the Cougars also missed out on making their first-ever trip to the city championships when they were edged out by Burke. Tied with Burke for second place in the Boston City League South division at the end of the regular season, Snowden didn’t get into cities because they lost by a wider margin to Burke than the margin they beat Burke by earlier in the season.
And on Monday night the reality that her senior season was over set in immediately for the eldest Chen sister.
“I’ll still be playing with them at home but it’s not like playing with them in a [high school] competition,” Chen said of her sisters after she finally stopped sobbing. “It’s already sunk in.”
Snowden jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the first set before Saint Clement came back to tie the set at six all. The rest of the set was neck and neck before Saint Clement pulled away to win 25-20.
In the second set Saint Clement jumped out to a 9-1 lead before winning 25-9.
“We stopped communicating and we started to blame each other,” Chen said of the second set. “It’s because everybody is so competitive and we are out to win.”
Saint Clement coach Lisa Regione said her team was nervous in the first set.
“The second set we just took it to them and played our volleyball,” said Regione, whose squad lost 3-0 to Winfield in the finals of the Division 3 North bracket last year. “The third set was nerves again because I wanted them to close out the game.”
Snowden got a boost in the final set from a group of students that streamed into the gym bleachers late and made their presence known.
The final set was tied at 15 points apiece before St. Clement pulled away and won 25-18.
Senior setter Allison Caloggero had 22 digs and nine assists for Saint Clement. Junior outside hitter Megan Berg had 15 service points with 9 aces while senior middle hitter Kristina O’Foedu added 13 services points with eight aces for St. Clement. Freshman middle hitter/setter Katie Monestime had 9 kills.
Saint Clement (17-4) advances to play Academy of Notre Dame and Mystic Valley in the semifinals on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Higher Speed.
Snowden finishes its season with a 13-4 record.
Snowden coach Margaret Cash-Griffin opted out of the state tournament last year even though her team qualified because she said they weren’t ready for post-season play. Next year she said she will add more nonconference games to her schedule to make sure her team is battle tested.
“They’ll fight back, I’m not worried,” she said. “Because at least know they know where they are going. At least now they know what their completion is. With the cities they found out that just one game, not a match, set us back and they didn’t know it was so important that they had to win 3-0.
“I think it was a good year, an excellent year and I think they all worked hard and they had a lot of support. The team itself, I think it will grow from here, even the rookies that sat the bench.”
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