JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. — There’s a new dynasty rising in Johnson County.
St. Thomas Aquinas’ girls just won another state volleyball championship, their third in the past four seasons. The Saints (40-3) made “unfinished business” their motto for the year, after coming up short in late year’s KSHSAA Class 5A State Tournament.
The road from match point still roars for the Saints’ volleyball champions. The Saints knocked off rival St. James Academy in a three-set thrilled last weekend to cap off this year’s championship, their third since 2019 and the school’s eighth state volleyball title overall.
“It’s just watching their dreams come true. You’re just watching what they worked so hard for,” Sarah Ikenberry, STA’s eighth-year coach, said.
Ikenberry’s athletes used a near-perfect rotation to slam home a near-perfect season, and to add another banner at Aquinas.
“I love how excited we get for each other. There are so many talented girls on this team, but there’s not one that stood out compared to everyone else,” Reagan Anderson, Aquinas libero, said.
“Whenever you come into Aquinas, there’s a legacy of winning. There’s a tradition of winning and working hard, and doing your best, and being successful,” Betsy Goodenow, Aquinas right side Hitter, said.
This talk of unfinished business could spill into next season. Aquinas expects to return eight of its 12 players from this state title team, and of the four players who are graduating, at least three of them have hopes of playing college volleyball, where they’ll chase championships at the next level.
Volleyball isn’t the only reason to cheer at Aquinas. The Saints’ cross country teams, both boys and girls, finished second in their respective state championship meets two weeks ago.