Fall SPC- Final Results

Sam Chambers
2017 Fall SPC has come to a close with St. John's Field Hockey, Girls' Volleyball, Boys' Volleyball, Girls' Cross Country and Boys' Cross Country all putting it on the line in Cowtown.   
Team results:
Field Hockey (S3): 3-0 win vs FWCD (N6); 3-2 OT win vs Greenhill; Championship semi-finals 1-0 loss vs Kinkaid (S1); 2-1 loss (strokes) vs St. Stephen's for 4th place.
Girls' Volleyball (S4): 3-0 win vs Oakridge (N5); 3-2 loss vs Hockaday (N1); 3-0 win vs Kinkaid (S6) for 5th place. 
Boys' Volleyball (S1): 3-1 loss vs Trinity Valley (N4); 3-1 win vs Kinkaid (S3); 3-1 win vs St. Stephen's (S2) for 5th place. 
Cross Country: Boys Cross Country-Runner-Up; Girls Cross Country- 4th place

Fall SPC started with Maverick Field Hockey taking the first whistle of the weekend. Seeded 3rd in the South, St. John’s opened up with North 6th-seed FWCD hosted by Trinity Valley.  While the temperatures dropped in the Metroplex, the Mavericks heated up early on in the opener.  Midway through the first half Natalie Stone ’19 scored the first goal of the game. Ten minutes later, Isabel Windham ’18 converted an assist from Audrey Ledbetter ’18 to make it 2-0 Mavericks going into the half. St. John’s scored their third goal from Amelie Perrier ’19, and team defense did their job to preserve the 3-0 shutout.

St. John’s entered the tournament in unfamiliar territory as not the top seed for the South, a position they have held for the last seven years. The Mavericks are back-to-back SPC champions and have won five out of the last nine titles.  One of the challenges this season has been competing on different surfaces.  The Mavericks’ home field playing surface is a special water-based field hockey turf, and St. John’s lost an early-season game played on grass to St. Stephen’s School of Austin. All of the 2017 SPC tournament sites are grass surface fields.

“One of the good things about being a lower seed is that we did not have a bye and were able to play an extra game on the grass surface,” said Head Field Hockey Coach Craig Chambers ’81.  “I thought we worked well together as a team, something we will have to continue to do to move on in the tournament.”

In their second game, Field Hockey won an OT thriller over Greenhill to advance to the semi-finals only to lose to top seed Kinkaid 1-0. The Mavs played St. Stephen's in their final game, losing in strokes for a 4th place finish. 

On Thursday evening, St. John’s Girls’ Volleyball, seeded 4th in the SPC South, took on the North 5th seed Oakridge Owls. In front of a packed crowd of Maverick fans, augmented by the Field Hockey and Boys' Volleyball teams, St. John’s put the pressure on Oakridge early, taking 20-9 lead in the first set and never letting up to win match 3-0 (25-13, 25-14, 25-16). In the next round, St. John’s played North 1st seed Hockaday in the championship quarterfinals barely losing in five sets (26-24, 25-23, 16-25, 23-25, 15-4). They finished the tournament with a 3-0 win over Kinkaid fifth place. Kennadie Jake-Turner ’18 led the team with 47 kills on the weekend. Three years ago they did not qualify for the tournament. The last two years they held the sixth seed, and now they are they are no longer at the bottom of the bracket. The current squad also took all of the top three seeds to five sets during the regular season. As the season comes to an end, St. John’s Girls’ Volleyball is hitting new heights.

In Friday's championship quarterfinals, Boys' Volleyball lost their first match 3-1 to Trinity Valley.  They rebounded with a 3-1 win over Kinkaid to set up a fifth-place match against St. Stephen's which the Mavericks won 3-1 for 5th place. Michael Urdahl ’18 led the Mavericks with a game-high 26 kills in the final game of the tournament.

Girls' Cross Country finished in fourth place with 118 points.  Jordan Kramer '18 (4th-19:30) and Katherine Johnston '20 (19th- 20:44) earned all-conference honors. 

Boys' Cross Country was in the SPC spotlight having won the last three conference championships. A fourth consecutive title was within their reach. St. John's won the draw for the best starting spot in a field of 15 teams.  As the race began, the Mavericks were in command on the 3.1 mile (5K) course.  St. Stephen's Spartans, the team who beat St. John's in this year's South Zone race, had the top two runners pacing the field. Drew Woodfolk '18 was in third, followed by a pack of Mavericks and no other Spartans in sight. Maverick depth looked to prevail once more. The race was held at the Athletic Performance Ranch, southwest of Fort Worth. Two outside loops sent runners away from the finish area and an inner loop completed the third and final section. When the main group of runners headed back from the second loop, St. John’s was ever present in the field, but as the leaders passed through the third section, St. Stephen's made their push. They finished 1, 2, 13, 18, and 24th for 58 points. The Mavericks top five lined up at 3, 7, 9, 19, and 22 for a second-place 60. Woodfolk led the Mavericks with a time of 16:24.8 followed by Sam Faraguna ’19 (16:39.2), Samuel Ho ’18 (16:44.2), Simon Jernigan ‘18 (17:16), and Ian Thakur ‘18 (17:20.7) If the score had been tied, the Mavericks 6th place finisher, Pearse Higgason ’18 (17:26.6), would have won it for St. John's.  Woodfolk, Faraguna, Ho, and Jernigan received all-conference medals.

"It is hard to overcome a team that has the top two runners," said Higgason.  "We ran well and they did too.  Our depth was just not quite enough to overcome their top two runners."

As the dust clears in Cowtown and St. John’s teams head back home, SJS Mavericks can hang their hat on an SPC well-played, well run, and not without honor.

Sam Chambers- Athletic News