SLUH captures state volleyball title; dethrones Vianney
By THAD KEMLAGE
For the Call
St. Louis University High volleyball seniors Alex Lepp of Oakville and Brian Guntli of Concord finally earned their state title, dethroning perennial champion Vianney 16-14, 15-13.
Both of these seniors showed tremendous leadership and composure throughout their run to the state championship on May 23.
Guntli was the team captain this year and Lepp gave a motivational speech at the volleyball banquet last season.
"I said after the last two years of losing, I am ready to win one,'' Lepp said. "It challenged everyone to prepare themselves for next year.''
The Junior Billikens lost in the semifinals in two consecutive seasons — to CBC in 2001 and Vianney in 2002.
SLUH and Vianney faced off against each other again in the postseason in the finals this year.
"They (Vianney) were the team that I wanted to see in the finals because that is who you want to beat since they have won so many times,'' Lepp said.
SLUH attempted to return the favor to Vianney in the championship match. SLUH made an emotional rally in the first game of the match after being down 11-3 to steal the first game by the score of 16-14.
"We did not get rattled by the run and that says a lot because we had a team with a lot of first year varsity players,'' Lepp said.
The second game of the match was more balanced with the biggest lead for any team being five.
The triple threat of Guntli's passing, Lepp's defense and sophomore Joe Guntli's offense erased Vianney's streak of six straight titles.
"This season could not be any more perfect,'' Lepp said. "It erases all the pain from the previous seasons.''
SLUH came into the postseason as the top-ranked team in the state and finished its state championship season with a 23-3 record.