CENTERVIEW -- There weren't any major surprises Saturday during the I-70 Conference Volleyball Tournament at Centerview.
Defending champion St. Paul, the No. 1 seed, won the championship match over second-seeded Santa Fe, with third seed Wellington-Napoleon placing third.
Ranked eighth in the latest Class 1 state poll, the Lady Chiefs ripped through the Blue Pool without a loss, opening with a 25-17, 25-8 decision over Sweet Springs.
The Lady Greyhounds would split with Wellington (25-23, 18-25) and sweep Lone Jack (26-24, 25-18) before making their customary quarterfinal exit with a hard-fought 25-23, 20-25, 25-18 loss to Orrick -- which be eliminated by the Lady Saints in the next round, 25-5, 25-5.
Sweet Springs (7-8-2) is scheduled to host Clinton today.
Santa Fe followed up that win by besting the Lady Mules (25-21, 25-16) and Lady Tigers (25-19, 25-23). Sophomore Lexi Smith led the Lady Chiefs in pool play with 21 kills, while senior Callie Gieselman served up seven aces and freshman Kylie Limback knocked down 13 shots and blocked seven.
Smith rang up nine spikes and blocked two shots, with Gieselman and sophomore Katey Peters each dropping in a pair of aces during Santa Fe's 25-8, 25-23 quarterfinal win over Crest Ridge.
In the semifinal round against Wellington, the Lady Chiefs got 11 kills and four blocks from Smith during a come-from-behind 24-26, 25-20, 25-19 victory. Limback made seven shots, senior Chelsea Winter added four and Gieselman came up with eight digs.
"We didn't really have a lot of momentum throughout the tournament," noted Santa Fe head coach Kinsey Harms. "The girls finished the games they needed to get to the championship match."
During their regular season match early in the week, the Lady Chiefs had leads through much of each set before St. Paul mounted comebacks. In the tourney final, the Santa Fe was largely playing catch-up to the Lady Saints, ranked third in Class 2.
"We didn't start out as hot as we had the last time we played them," Harms said. "It took a little longer for us to get into a comfortable pace and keep it."
Santa Fe was as close as 22-20 late in the first game and was tied at 21-all in the second before the Lady Saints (26-2-1) pulled away to win both, 25-22, 25-21.
"They are a tough team," Harms credited St. Paul, which -- like the Lady Chiefs -- reach the MSHSAA Championships last year. "Unfortunately we didn't get the best of them this year, so this goal will stay on the board for another season."
Two Lady Chiefs made the all-tournament team, Smith with 45 kills and 10.5 blocks and Winter with 31 kills. In addition, Gieselman contributed 13 aces and 14 digs, Limback had 27 spikes and eight blocks, and junior Brooke Barnett provided 62 assists.
Santa Fe (19-6-1) returns to dual play today with a non-conference contest at Northwest of Hughesville.