Volleyball: Ponies remain unbeaten in SEC

Gazette photo by Scott Ertle
Stillwater’s Stephanie Dietrich goes up for a block during Tuesday’s 3-0 Suburban East Conference victory over Mounds View at Stillwater Area High School.

OAK PARK HEIGHTS — Clearing the last hurdle before its much-anticipated showdown with fellow Suburban East Conference front-runner Cretin-Derham Hall, the Stillwater volleyball team swept Mounds View 3-0 on Tuesday at Stillwater Area High School.

The Ponies used a balanced attack in knocking off Mounds View, with five players recording nine or more kills in the 25-9, 25-11, 25-19 victory.

Stillwater (7-0 SEC, 16-5) can clinch at least a share of the conference title with a victory at Cretin-Derham Hall (7-0, 17-3) on Thursday.

“Cretin has been something that we circled since the day I took this job,” Ponies first-year coach Jamie Suapaia said. “They went to state last year and have been perennial conference champs. We’re really looking forward to (Thursday).”

Stillwater’s Sophie Vick passes a serve during Tuesday’s three-game sweep over Mounds View.

Stillwater missed just one serve in 73 attempts on Tuesday and was also strong defensively while racking up 63 digs, led by Maddie Brandon with 24 and Sophie Vick with 21.

“That was pretty good,” Suapaia said.

Bri Horwath delivered 18 kills to lead the Ponies while Savannah Sprenger and Stephanie Dietrich followed with 15 and 14. Brooke Hunter added 10 kills and Stephanie Houle chipped in with nine.

“They sent a lot of easy balls over and we had a lot of mismatches,” Suapaia said. “We were being aggressive throughout the entire match and Susan (Evans) did a nice job of spreading the ball around. We didn’t make too many mistakes.”

Evans finished with 44 set assists.

Stillwater jumped out to an early lead in the second game, but the Mustangs climbed back to tie it at 10-all. Houle reeled off 12 straight points on her serve and the Ponies closed out Game 2 on a 15-1 run for a 2-0 lead.

“Sophie had a really good defensive game,” Suapaia said. “With Steph Houle serving, we put a middle in the back row for those 12 points and Sophie did a nice job stepping up defensively and not trying to do too much, but being in the right position and helping us get counter attacks.”