The Rams jumped out to a 6-1 lead in set 1 behind three service points from Yaritza Zorrilla and kills from tournament MVP Shanelle Belmer-Barry and all-tournament selection Skyler Crayton. Jenna Tobin delivered four service points to up the lead to 15-6, and Classical held the Spartans at arm's length for the remainder of the set to roll to the 25-17 win. Alytah Noum closed out the set with six service points.
"She's the nicest kid, she's a senior, she's a leader," Classical coach Frank DeLuca said of Noum. "I'm glad she did it."
In the second set, Grace Fielding helped St. Mary's stake a 4-0 lead, but Zorrilla delivered three service points right after to tie the game. Crayton's kill made it 6-6, and Emily Silva added five service points to help the Rams build a 10-6 lead.
Later in the set, Belmer-Barry and Zorrilla added kills and Silva added five more service points to close out the set.
The Rams looked to be in good shape, but they knew they couldn't get too comfortable. After watching Tech fall, 3-2, to English in the consolation match earlier in the day after going up, 2-0, Classical wanted to close out the match in straight sets. St. Mary's had other plans.
Courtney Kostopoulos gave the Spartans some breathing room with six service points to take a 12-7 lead. Crayton came up with two kills to close the gap a bit, and Belmer-Barry helped Classical take a 16-15 lead with two kills. But the Rams couldn't shut down St. Mary's, and the Spartans capped off a late rally with a kill from Fielding to win the set, 25-23.
"I told the girls that the hardest set to win is the last one, and the last points are the hardest ones to get," DeLuca said. "I think we really got a little lackadaisical and tried to get a little too fancy and made too many unforced errors. (St. Mary's) didn't quit and they kept playing."
Seven service points from Zorrilla and kills from Belmer-Barry and Rhode Alcindor helped the Rams pull away late in the fourth set and secure another tournament championship.
"She came up big, she had some family in stands, which helped," DeLuca said of tournament MVP Belmer-Barry, who had 13 kills. "She came out and had a great game, made a big difference and she's a force up front."
Brianna Doherty was St. Mary's all-tournament team selection.
English 3, Tech 2
After falling behind, 2-0, the Bulldogs staged a furious comeback and looked better and better every set.
Tech was dominant in the first set, a 25-15 win. The Tigers' serving game was strong, and they closed out the set with eight straight points to seal the victory.
The second set was much closer, but Tech's Kengeraliz Carrasquillo stepped to the line with the Tigers down, 21-20, and delivered five service points, including three aces, to give Tech the win.
Down 24-17 in the third set, it looked as if English's season would end with a sweep. Then Makayla Clements stepped to the line and brought her team all the way back with three aces and eight service points to make it 24-24. From that point on it was a battle, back and forth until English's Andy Nhiv ended it with a kill for a 28-26 English win.
"Andy Nhiv has been, since i pulled him up last year, he's been my rock, one of my most consistent players," English coach Mike Haddad said. "We get some attitude sometimes about having a guy on the team, and I've told everyone, he's not on team because he's a boy. He went to tryouts and earned his spot like anyone else. If he wasn't as good at receiving as he is and staying late at practice every day, he wouldn't be on my team, he wouldn't be our libero."
The Bulldogs pulled away late in the fourth set behind five service points from Clements and took a 25-18 win to force a fifth set.
English fell behind, 11-8, in the deciding set, but Nhiv kicked things into another gear and sealed the win with seven service points and three aces for the 15-11 win.
"I'm very proud of the way they played. We had a tough season, our record wasn't great, but time and time again, I can always say that my players fought hard and never gave up, even when facing teams that had a much greater record, even when down two sets," Haddad said. "They play to the last point, and that's all I've ever asked of my players. Down two sets, thinking this was the end and watching them rally and come back, I have to tell you, it made me feel really good. To me, it was the perfect way to show all of work they've been doing, and that it has all been worth it and is paying off."
Tech's Michayla Lawrence and English's Ashley Dahlbeck were selected to the all-tournament team.