CONCORDIA -- Something had to give Tuesday during the meeting between two remaining unbeaten teams in the I-70 Conference volleyball race.
It turned out to be Santa Fe. The Lady Chiefs -- ranked eighth in Class 1 -- led late in both sets at St. Paul, but couldn't hold on. The Lady Saints, No. 6 in Class 2, rallied at the end for a 25-21, 25-22 home win.
"We were pretty disappointed with the results," admitted Santa Fe head coach Kinsey Harms. "We have to find a way to finish these games."
The Lady Chiefs held a 17-9 lead in the first set, but St. Paul answered with six straight points to kick off a 14-2 run. In the second game, Santa Fe was up by five points at 18-13, but the Lady Saints scored five in a row and nine of the next 11 points to creep ahead, 22-20.
Sophomore Lexi Smith had four kills, two digs and got in on four blocks for the Lady Chiefs, but 11 total attack errors left them with a hitting efficiency of .002, not sufficient against a team of St. Paul's caliber.
"Everything was mental," Harms said. "These are the most exciting matches of the year."
Senior Chelsea Winter knocked down three shots and served three aces and freshman Kylie Limback added three kills for Santa Fe (13-5-1, 5-1 I-70).
Barring an upset down the line, the victory probably meant the Lady Saints (19-2-1, 2-0) will take the league regular season title. However, the two teams could meet again Saturday as the top two seeds of the I-70 Conference Tournament at Crest Ridge.
"They proved they can beat St. Paul, even if they didn't do it" Tuesday, Harms said. "We'll have a chip on our shoulder to get rid of on Saturday."