By CONOR NICHOLL
St. Paul did not lose until Sept. 18 and currently stands at 27-4 for an 87.1 winning percentage. By percentage, the Indians have the third-best record in Class 1A, Division I.
SP trails only Little River (31-4) and Pretty Prairie (34-4) for the top record in the classification, according to KSHSAA results. St. Paul is ranked seventh in the classification by the most recent Kansas Volleyball Coaches Association rankings.
St. Paul has eight players on varsity, lone senior Elise Doherty and a junior class of Chloe Seme, Kenna Doherty, Josey Harris, Maggie Winter, Ava Chambers, Gennie Vitt and Sophia Albertini.
Elise Doherty has 193 kills in the team’s most recent statistical release, per MaxPreps. Harris has 168 kills. Harris and Kenna Doherty pace with 43 and 40 aces. Doherty leads with 87 blocks. Kenna leads with 517 aces.
Elise and Kenna Doherty, Albertini, Harris, Vitt, Chambers, Winter, and Seme are all part of the National Honor Society. Mark Haight is St. Paul’s head coach, and Ashley Little serves as the assistant. Haight was the former assistant.
Elise Doherty is a unanimous returning first team all-league player. Harrison and Albertini were both honorable mention all-conference picks. Vitt is a state champion powerlifter who set a bevy of state records last spring.
St. Paul is looking for its first state appearance since 2014. Before then, the previous state appearances came in ’91, ’92 and ’96, per KSHSAA archives.
Last year, many of the key St. Paul players were part of the co-operative agreement between SP and Chetopa volleyball. The schools are in the same district. This fall, St. Paul has one of the smallest 1A-I enrollments with 76 students, per KSHSAA numbers. Chetopa is in Division II with 40 students. St. Paul is 3-0 versus Chetopa this year.
St. Paul is in the Class 1A, Division I sub-state that will be held this Saturday at Marmaton Valley. SP is with Burlingame, Colony-Crest, Madison/Hamilton, Marmaton Valley, Olpe, and Oswego. As of Monday night, St. Paul led the sub-state. Burlingame was second at 23-7. Five teams were over .500.
Marmaton Valley was 23-11, and Madison/Hamilton was 20-11. Colony-Crest stood at 18-16.
St. Paul finished 2-0 versus Marmaton Valley and did not play Burlingame or Madison. SP was 2-0 versus Crest. The Indians’ lone losses all came versus much bigger schools. St. Paul fell to Riverton on Sept. 18, and took losses to 4A Labette County, 4A Coffeyville and 3A Girard on Oct. 2. Since then, St. Paul has six straight wins. Riverton is ranked seventh in 3A, Labette County is tenth in 4A.