How Sweep it is!

Sam Chambers
St. John's sweeps Kinkaid in all varsity counters and finishes 1st and 2nd in girls' and boys' cross country at SPC South Zone.
The final Varsity games of the regular season in Volleyball, Field Hockey and Football had a lot on the line with playoff positioning, fan fair, and an old time rivalry all wound into one.
 
Episcopal is arguably the emerging rivalry with St. John’s, but Kinkaid week seems to bring out the best in the Mavericks with more alumni, brighter lights and bigger crowds.
 
All Varsity teams had plenty at stake with the Falcons, and Thursday’s all-school pep rally set the tone for a great start. At 5 p.m. Boys’ Volleyball lead off with a 3-0 victory over Kinkaid, clinching the #1 SPC South seed above Episcopal.
 
“We wanted to sweep Kinkaid in all sports and we knew it had to begin with us,” said middle blocker William Trieschman ’14.
 
In between the volleyball games, Maverick Field Hockey also had the #1 seed on the line with the Falcons. With four minutes remaining in the half Robby Rybarczyk ’13 scored off a Sam Night ’13 pass to take a 1-0 lead, and the Falcons answered to make it 1-1 at the break. Kinkaid took the lead midway in the second half, but with seven minutes to go, Night found Carson Black ’13 for the equalizer, and an unusual suspect got the game winner with a minute to go. Amanda Leavell ’13, whose only field hockey experience was as a freshman, decided to return to the sport for her senior year. An All-Conference basketball and All-Conference/All-American lacrosse player, Leavell earned a starting role on the Varsity Field Hockey team this fall, and with time running down, she made up for lost years in the last minute of regulation. 
 
“I honestly don’t really know what was going through my mind,” said Leavell. “I was just really in the moment taking each step as it came, and as I got closer I just shot.”
 
“That was the most incredible goal I have ever seen in my entire career,” said JV1 Head Coach Brenda Mercado.
 
With 80 seconds to go, Amanda received a pass from Rybarczyk, dodged two defenders, and flipped the ball into the net as the fans erupted, giving the Mavericks a 3-2 win and another top SPC seed.
 
Girls’ Volleyball was just trying to make it in D1 and needed a win and some help. In a packed Liu Court on senior night, the Mavericks fed off the energized crowd and to prevail 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-18). Down early in the second game the Mavericks found a way to come back and eventually finish the Falcons in the 3rd.
 
“We practice with emotion and we play with emotion,” said Head Coach James Fuller. “I am very pleased with the eight seniors who play as a family and make the other six younger players all part of the team.”
 
The crowd went crazy in the third game when Caroline Owens ’14 got a set on the outside of the court but managed to finish the hit at a wide angle.
 
“I knew I could make it,” said Owens. "I am just so excited about the win and playing with these seniors.”
 
“We wanted this one so much after losing a heart breaker to Houston Christian,” said Caroline Labanowski ’14.
 
“It was spirit week, a home crowd, and the last counter game of the season,” said Stephanie Guo ’13. “We played like it was our last game.”
 
"It was awesome playing Kinkaid,” said Briana Williams ’13.  
 
“The crowd was amazing and helped us out so much,” said Jane Labanowski ’13. “Everyone needs to be pumped about the football game.”
 
In the Varsity finale against the Falcons under the Friday night lights of Rice Stadium,  Maverick Football did not disappoint .  St. John's jumped out to a 7-0 lead on a Ben Griffin ’13 touchdown, and Andre Gras ’13 PAT with 3:50 to go in first.
 
Nathan Avery’s ’13 40 yard run from scrimmage and a Gras kick made it 14-0 before Kinkaid answered to score late in the second quarter.  Interceptions from Jonathan ’13 and Michael Newar ’15, kept the momentum in St. John’s favor despite the Mavericks turning the ball over late in the second quarter.
 
Kinkaid answered in the third period to tie it up at 14 apiece, but Griffin struck again scampering on a 46 yard run to the Kinkaid 6 yard line before finding the goal line the next play to take a 21-14 lead with 3:03 to go in the 3rd quarter.
 
Jonathan Newar picked off Kinkaid for the second time on the night and St. John’s led Kinkaid 21-14 to start the final quarter.
 
Kinkaid answered again to make it 21-21 with 3:00 minutes remaining, but on the ensuing kickoff Risher Randall '14 had a long kick off return to set up the game winning run from Avery with 1:34 to go.  Carl Bernicker 's '14 interception sealed the 27-21 win for the Maverick Varsity sweep.
 
“This is a fantastic win for our team,” said Ben Griffin ’13, Built Ford Tough Player of The Week, who led the Mavericks with 222 yards in rushing and 2 TD's.
 
“Winning is a good feeling and its all about those kids right there,” said Head Coach Steve Gleaves. “This game and rivalry… you never know what is going to happen.”
 
Beating the old time rival in all varsity contests, including girls' and boys' cross country, doesn't get much better.

Sam Chambers-Athletic News

 
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