St. John’s drops Wilson in four sets to win fifth championship

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St. John's has won five straight DCSAA volleyball titles. (Brian Kapur/The Current/November 2017)

For St. John’s senior setter Rebecca Frye, last week was one to remember. On Wednesday she signed a national letter of intent to play volleyball for James Madison University, and on Friday night she orchestrated the Cadets’ offense as St. John’s defeated Wilson 3-1 (25-19, 25-11, 19-25 and 25-20) to capture its fifth straight D.C. State Athletic Association title at Trinity Washington University.

“It’s so nice to be able to say I won my last high school game ever,” said Frye, who was named the tournament MVP. “This has been the best week. I’m so excited. I can finally say I’m officially going to play in college at the school of my dreams. I just finished up playing a great four years here.”

St. John’s senior setter Rebecca Frye was named the tournament MVP. (Brian Kapur/The Current/November 2017)

The Cadets finished the season with a 24-9 overall record, while Wilson went 31-3 to end one of its best volleyball seasons in school history.

Frye finished the game with 33 assists, 11 service aces, four digs and two kills. Her favorite outside hitter was freshman Rachel Richardson, who had 21 kills.

“She is amazing,” Frye said. “She does so much for this team. She is going to do so great in the future.”

Sophomore Nicole Taylor also added 11 kills.

Defensively, the Cadets were led by junior Lauren Antonucci, who swapped spots for the second straight year — moving from setter to libero — to help give the team its best possible lineup.

“It’s so awesome,” the junior said. “It was such a fun feeling, especially with me changing positions.”

St. John’s, which entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed, won the first two sets in the match. But Wilson, the top overall seed, never folded.

While Wilson didn’t win, the Tigers took one set from St. John’s — the first time in five years the Cadets didn’t sweep a DCSAA title match. (Brian Kapur/The Current/November 2017)

“The team worked so hard to be here,” Wilson coach Perette Arrington said. “To make it this far as a D.C. public school says a lot about how hard these girls worked. They wanted it and weren’t going to go down without a fight.”

In the third game, Wilson made history by winning the set 25-19. It was the first time the Cadets had lost a set in the DCSAA title game during their five-year reign.

“It was the blood, sweat and tears of my assistant coach, my sister Patrice Arrington,” said Perette Arrington. “It was her being emotional because of how much the girls worked and how much they deserved it, and she pushed them through that third set.”

Despite the setback, St. John’s wasn’t rattled and refocused to close out the match in the fourth set.

“It was a big difference from last year where we would just sweep teams,” said Antonucci. “They were ranked higher than us. We were annoyed and thought we should be No. 1. We proved it by winning. We wanted to show that we deserved to be No. 1.”