The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

St. John’s volleyball wins seventh straight DCSAA title and second championship this week

St. John's swept WIlson to win its seventh straight seventh DCSAA title Friday at Trinity University.
St. John's swept WIlson to win its seventh straight seventh DCSAA title Friday at Trinity University. (Ryan McFadden/Washington Post)
Placeholder while article actions load

St. John’s senior Nicole Taylor wasn’t pleased during the middle of the volleyball season when she had to watch her teammates compete while she sat on the bench, recovering from a concussion.

Friday was a bit more joyous for the now-healthy captain after the Cadets swept Wilson, 25-16, 25-12, 25-11, to capture their seventh straight D.C. State Athletic Association championship at Trinity University.

“Going out with a bang feels amazing,” Taylor said. “For this being my final year, my team made me the happiest captain, and I’m happy they helped me get to this point in my career.”

Throughout the season, St. John’s (33-3) had to deal with injuries and illnesses, forcing it to play shorthanded. But the Cadets, who also won the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title Sunday, were still able to accomplish the goals they set at the beginning of the season.

“We’ve just been deep. And we’ve been that way all season long,” Coach Bill Pribac said. “If we had some injuries, we always had everyone picking one another up as we went along.”

The Cadets were trailing 7-1 in the second set when junior outside hitter Rachel Richardson, who finished with a game-high 15 kills, helped her team outscore the Tigers 24-5 to close out the set.

“We started playing poorly,” Pribac said. “We didn’t pass very well at the beginning, but as soon as we got it going, we started pulling away.”

Pribac went with seven seniors in the lineup for the final set, and the Cadets blew past Wilson — jumping out to a 11-5 lead and never looking back.

“We wanted to get all the seniors on the floor for one last hurrah,” Pribac said. “Every time we’ve done that, they didn’t disappoint. It was a lot of fun to watch them finish off their careers on the court.”

St. John’s this season was defined by its depth. Whether it was Richardson pounding the ball past defenders, senior Maya Boykin setting up teammates or freshman middle hitter Pamela McCune coming off the bench and providing a spark, Pribac received contributions from just about everyone he called on.

With a handful of underclassmen getting varsity experience, the coach is already thinking about how the team will look next season.

“We had a lot of them get a chance to experience stuff on the varsity level,” Pribac said. “They’re going to be ready to step up next year. We are going to have some holes, but those holes are going to be filled by the players that are coming back.”