District Champs!

The volleyball team will play Ste. Genevieve at 3 pm on Saturday.

Krista Green
The Owls knocked off Notre Dame- St. Louis to capture the Class 3 District 3 title.

Madison Alaniz, Staff Writer

For the first time since 2013, the Windsor volleyball team is district champions. On Wednesday, the Owls first beat the No. 2 seeded Affton to Cougars to advance to the district championship against Notre Dame-St.Louis. Against Notre Dame, the Lady Owls won their first set 25-18 and followed it up by winning their second set 25-19.

For head coach Stephany Dueker, this is her fifth district title in volleyball over the past 18 years. However, the 2019 team is quite different than previous district champions.

Dueker said, “We are very, very small in comparison. Every other title we’ve won has come with multiple girls between (5-feet-8-inches and six feet tall). This team has one girl over (5-feet-8-inches). I’ve had many defensive oriented teams, as we usually aren’t big, but this team is either No. 1 or No. 2  all time best defenders.”

Not only is this team smaller than many of Dueker’s former teams, it is also much younger.  While the Owls have a strong senior class, Dueker plays three freshmen on the varsity this season. That may have played a role in their early season struggles. After a loss against Festus on September 19, the Owls dropped to 6-7-3 on the season. After their district championship win, the Owls are 21-9-5.

“This team has also improved more over the stretch of the season than any other team I’ve had. With the other district titles, we started very good and got better over the season. This year we were always talented, but we did not start good as a team in the beginning,” Dueker said.

The mix of youth and experience really started molding late in the season. Getting accustomed to the faster pace may have taken some time for the freshmen.

Freshman Lexi Menne said, “Playing on varsity is a lot different than from playing on freshman or JV. The game goes by a lot faster.”

However, the team does not know where they would be without the play of the freshmen.

Senior Ally Moore said, “Our freshman are amazing. We would not be the team we are today without Grace Lowery, Lexi Menne and Madison Williams…Madison has been awesome. She comes right in big games and does what we need her to do. Grace Lowery is my go to girl. She’s a reflection of me. She keeps the team going. Lexi is the most clutch player I’ve ever seen. She’s the closest thing to perfect. Lexi can not come off the court, she’s just a player you got to have out there.”

For the seniors, winning a district title means even more–especially to Taylor Duncan.

Taylor Duncan has played all four years on varsity. Unfortunately, her junior season ended early because of a knee injury.

Duncan said, “Winning districts is a moment I will never forget. Ally Moore and I have been waiting for that plaque since our freshman year. I’m just so glad it happened with this team because we have such great chemistry.”

Because of her knee injury, Duncan has been forced to adjust the way she plays.

Duncan said, “My knee injury is definitely holding me back from my full potential. It has made me much slower than I used to be and my brace was very hard to get used to. As the season went on, I’ve learned how to work around it and whether I’m in pain or not, I’m always giving my full effort on the court.”

Moore was thrilled to experience the district title with her teammates.

Moore said, “The feeling is unexplainable. We are in the gym every day after school for two-three hours working towards our goal, which was being district champs, and when we won, it made it all worth it.”

The Owls hope to continue to advance this postseason. Windsor will play at 3 pm on Saturday against Ste. Genevieve at Ste. Genevieve. The winner of that game will play the winner of Rosati-Kain/Perryville. The quarterfinal match will take place at 6 pm on Saturday. The winner advances to the final four next week in Cape Girardeau.

Moore said, “On Saturday, all we can do is play our game and do the things we know how to do.  We can do it. We just have to say we can.”