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ArlingtonSportsO'Connell has championship volleyball season

O’Connell has championship volleyball season

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As has been the case for a number of years, the Bishop O’Connell Knights enjoyed another highly successful and winning girls high-school fall volleyball season.

The Knights compiled a 29-2 record, won the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference tournament championship as the No. 2 seed, and ended the season with a semifinal loss in teh Division I private-school state tourney.

O’Connell’s season included winning streaks of 14 and 15 matches.

The WCAC tournament title was the team’s second in a row. O’Connell was 3-0 in the competition. The Knights downed Bishop Ireton, 3-0 in the first round, edged St. John’s, 3-2, in the semifinals, then avenged their only regular-season loss with a 3-0 victory over top seed Holy Cross in the title match, winning by set scores of 25-17, 25-18, 25-20.

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Next, O’Connell was the No. 2 seed in the Division I state private-school state tournament and finished 1-1. The Knights, a past winner of the state tourney, defeated Catholic, 3-1, in the quarterfinals, then lost to third seed Norfolk Academy, 3-1, in the semifinals.

In that semifinal, Norfolk Academy won the first and second sets by 25-17 and 25-19 scores and the fourth 25-23. O’Connell won the second, 25-19.

The Knights were led by a number of standout players during the season.

Making first-team Division I all-state for O’Connell were senior Grace Maria and junior Erin Debiec and junior Madison Bowser made second team.

Maria led O’Connell in kills with 488 to go with 85 aces and 25 blocks. Bowser had 276 kills and 75 blocks. Debiec had 113 kills, a team high 659 assists, 62 aces and 26 blocks.

O’Connell sophomore Payton Vieselmeyer had 71 kills, junior Emily Reyburn had 206 assists and 43 aces, junior Cara Nearpass had 52 aces, freshman Tea Stamenkovic had 105 kills and 30 blocks, and sophomores Maia Cerezo and Hannah Kotb each had 34 aces.

Other O’Connell players this season were Alayshia Spears, Alana Wirth, Grace Faughnan, Eva Woodcock, Lily Spann.

NOTE: O’Connell was ranked second in the Division I state poll all season, behind undefeated Flint Hill, which won the Division I state championship. Norfolk Academy was ranked fourth in the initial 2022 state poll, then moved up to No. 3 by season’s end. O’Connell and Flint Hill did not play during the season. They did play a couple of times last season, when Flint Hill defeated the Knights in the state championship match.

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