The varsity volleyball team entered the SPC Tournament as the #2 seed from the North Zone. The Lions were fortunate to get to host the tournament for the first time in over 20 years. In the first game, the team faced a scrappy Kinkaid (Houston) squad. The Falcons split the first two games with the Lions, but St. Mark’s eventually pulled out the 3-1 win. The SPC semifinals matched St. Mark’s against the South Zone #1 seeded St. Stephen’s. The Lions had lost to St. Stephen’s twice earlier in the season at the Houston Cup Tournament. History looked to repeat itself as St. Stephen’s jumped out to a 2-game lead in the best of 5 match. The Lions, showing focus and determination in front of a great home crowd, managed to win games 3 and 4 and knot the match at 2 games apiece. St. Stephen’s regrouped and the fifth and deciding game would be epic. The Lions fell behind early 2-6, but managed to tie the game at 7. The Lions again fell behind 9-11 after switching sides, but showed some grit and with some key hustle plays and digs by sophomore Cooper Ribman and senior Billy Stalder, and a big block by sophomore Daniel Sanchez, the Lions regained the lead at 14-13. On the final point, it took a vicious back row attached by sophomore Tristan Doan to finally put the game away and the Lions emerged as the winner! The Lion’s semifinal win matched them up with Trinity Valley in the SPC Championship game. The TVS Trojans had owned the Lions all year, having beaten them 4 times and losing 0, while only dropping only 2 games total to the Lions in all 4 of those matches. Trinity Valley came out strong and whooped the Lions in game 1 (25-13). The crowd kept the energy in the gym high, and the Lions were able to bounce back and squeak out a win in game 2 (25-23) after trailing late. Game 3 proved just as exciting. The Lions again found themselves behind, trailing 7-12 midway through the set. The Trojans were on the brink of taking a 2-1 game lead, leading 21-17. On what appeared to be a St. Mark’s point on a ball hit out of bounds by Trinity Valley, sophomore Tristan Doan made an honor call, telling the official he had touched the ball which resulted in a TVS point. Now trailing by 5 points, Doan responded with a massive out of system kill. Amid loud TVS chants of “SCOREBOARD!” with the Trojans up 24-19, the Lions ripped off several points (Lincoln Dales solo block, Sanchez kill, Dales roll shot kill) all with senior Albert Luo serving. The Lions finished game 3 with 7 straight points to win the game 26-24! Having matched their games won total against TVS for the entire season, the Lions carried their momentum into the 4th set. Big blocks by juniors Sam Ahmed and Toby Nwafor and senior Albert Luo, and several more kills by Doan, Sanchez, and Nwafor got the Lions to 24-11. It was only fitting that Doan would get the walk-off kill to cap off the upset and give the Lions their first SPC Volleyball Championship since 2014!
The varsity cross country team returned near the top of the SPC Conference with a second-place finish last Saturday. On a cold morning and a muddy course, the Lions persevered with their best effort of the abbreviated season. Senior captain Seth Weprin, who finished 3rd overall, led three other Marksmen to SPC ALL-SPC honors. Junior Pablo Arroyo finished right behind Seth in 4th, followed by his brother Andres Arroyo in 16th, and sophomore Julian Ivarra in 18th. The Lions put 6 runners in the top 30, including junior Tyler Nussbaumer (27th) and senior Michael Lukowicz (30th), in a field of 141 runners!
Winter Sports Begin
The varsity basketball team will kick off the season with 2 games, Friday at home vs. John Paul II and Saturday at Little Elm. Little Elm sports the #1 PG recruit nationally, which will be a good test for the young and talented Lions.
The varsity soccer team hosts Prestonwood in its home opener Friday night at 7:00 p.m.
The varsity wrestling team opens its season with a dual tournament on Saturday, with a 9:30 a.m. at St. Mark’s.