Althoff simply overpowered Edwards County 25-16, 25-14 in the Class 2A volleyball sectional at Nashville Tuesday night.
The Crusaders will advance to the sectional championship for the first time since 2011, when they will take on Anna-Jonesboro on Thursday night at 6 p.m.
The Lady Wildcats (20-12) knocked off Trico (29-5) 25-19, 25-19 in the other semi-final.
“It’s going to be a good match,” Althoff coach Sara Thomas-Dietrich of Thursday’s title contest. “We have the utmost respect for Anna. They just beat Trico who beat Gibault and that says a lot. We are not taking any game lightly, but through this whole process we are just focusing on us. We are focusing on our side of the game and what we can do.
Never miss a local story.
“These girls want it.”
The Crusaders were led at the net by Emily Myatt’s nine kills, as Edwards County focused most of their attention on senior middle hitter Alanna Bramwell.
“Emily is a stud,” Thomas-Dietrich said. “When she and Alanna are on our game is at a completely different level. They were commit-blocking on Alanna so that opened up our outside a little bit more.”
Edwards County led 5-4 early in game one, but a kill from Bramwell and three consecutive aces from junior libero Katie Allard put Althoff ahead 8-5.
The Crusaders would not trail again in game one, stretching their lead to 12-8 and then 17-12 before Myatt’s fifth kill of the set finished off the Lions 25-16.
Edwards County jumped out to an 8-6 lead in game two, but a nice service run from Louise Comerford rallied Althoff to an 11-8 advantage.
The Crusaders would not give up that lead, jumping out to a 23-12 advantage behind seven straight service points from Jessica Hoffman to help end the Lions season at 16-22.
“We knew we had a challenge ahead of us, they are a good team,” said Edwards County coach Nixie Hnetkovsky. “We tried to adjust to their size, but we couldn’t match their quickness. We have a young team and we are going to learn from this going forward.”