St. Monica Academy's remarkable Cinderella season, which included a Section 5A championship and a shattering of pre-season expectations, came to an end Nov. 28 at the hands of Division 5 top seed Upland Christian Academy Lady Eagles, who defeated the St. Monica Crusaders in three straight games.
UCA took control early with a 25-16 statement win in Game One. The undaunted Crusaders came storming back with a vengeance in Game Two thanks to some great hitting from seniors Therese Boles, Michelle Hall and Francesca McCall (who have been teammates since their freshmen seasons in 2012) and juniors Sophia Vega and Molly Hagan, and captured a commanding 15-8 lead. Upland Christian regained its poise and control of the match, however, and stormed back with a 10-3 rally of its own to tie things at 18 and, in a high-tension home stretch, emerged with the 25-22 Game Two win.
If you got the sense that Upland Christian's comeback took the air out of St. Monica's balloon, you were right. Though the Crusaders never stopped fighting, Game Three was never closer than 15-10, as the Lady Eagles dominated to the tune of another 25-16 victory, sealing the sweep and earning a spot in the Division 5 semifinals.